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The East Haven volleyball squad picked up a 3-1 victory on the road over Cross on Sept. 30 to move to 3-1 in SCC Oronoque play, defeating the Governors by scores of 22-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-17.
The Yellowjackets got off to a slow start, but were able to pick up the pace through the rest of the match on their way to victory.
"We moved well, covered up the court and, in the end, we communicated very well," Head Coach Craig Brown said. "We're a quiet team for the most part as we like to play positionally when, in the end, the best teams communicate even when everybody's in the right positions. That's what we did excellent, which led to losing game one before pushing our way through the next three for the win."
Sophomore Alyssa Barcomb was the star of the match for East Haven. She kept Cross off-balanced the entire time with her serves and served 27 times in the short contest. She added two kills, a block, and six digs to help the Yellowjackets to victory.
Overall, it was a balanced effort for the Yellowjackets. McKenzie Miessau led the Easties with six kills and 11 digs, Talia Loda had 13 assists, and the entire team combined for 20 aces.
On Oct. 2, the Yellowjackets faced powerhouse and No. 1 squad in the state Woodland and the Hawks took care of business 3-0 (25-11, 25-14, 25-14) to move to 9-0 on the season. Brown knew it would be a tough contest for the Yellowjackets as he was Woodland's JV coach prior to joining East Haven. Plus, Woodland was coming off a season where it was the Class M runner-up.
"They took it to us like they should have and the way they know how," Brown said. "We may have come out a little flat, but in the end, we started to get into our own groove and play a little bit better."
The game was full of adjustments for East Haven (3-8) and the match wasn't long enough for them to adjust to Woodland's skill. Brianna Pacileo utilized a jump serve for Woodland, which really caught East Haven off-guard. She had seven of her nine aces in the second set alone, allowing the Hawks to run away with the match.
"It's a hard maneuver. Not many girls do it," Brown said about his team's difficulty returning Pacileo's services. "You normally see it in men's volleyball. When someone puts it together and does something like that, it can really lead to success. For a team like us, who hasn't seen it in the three years I've been here, it can really take some people by shock."
Woodland dominated the first set and held a 24-6 advantage before East Haven scored five points in a row. Woodland then stopped the run to win 25-11.
In the second set, Woodland got out to a quick lead once again, winning the set's first four points. With the score 6-5, Pacileo took service and pushed the Hawks' lead up to 10-5 and Woodland took advantage from there. East Haven generated some chances, but its lack of communication is what Brown said eventually resulted in defeat.
"We're a younger group. We start three sophomores so it's something they haven't had to learn yet," he said. "Our three seniors do their best to lead by example, but we're trying to pull it out from the other kids."
In the third set, Woodland's Rachel Starkey served for four consecutive points to give the Hawks an early 7-2 lead, then later served for six straight to put her squad a point from victory, which it ultimately claimed.