Waterford falls in semis of Class M volleyball tourney

Waterford's Jill Sykora (98) watches as teammate Elaina Sullivan sets the ball during Wednesday night's Class M semifinal volleyball game against top-seeded Woodland. The No. 5 Lancers gave Woodland a scare before losing 3-1.
Waterford's Jill Sykora (98) watches as teammate Elaina Sullivan sets the ball during Wednesday night's Class M semifinal volleyball game against top-seeded Woodland. The No. 5 Lancers gave Woodland a scare before losing 3-1. Tim Cook/The Day Buy Photo

Waterford's dream season ends with loss to No. 1 Woodland

Glastonbury — It is not the sport normally associated with Waterford High School, the haven for baseball and softball. But then not even such sports of dominance can claim the accomplishment of volleyball:

A trip to the Class M state semifinals in just the program's seventh varsity season.

And to think the Lancers were tied at a game apiece Wednesday night in the semifinals, daring to dream of a chance at school history.

Top-seeded Woodland, however, wouldn't allow it and ended No. 5 Waterford's season, 3-1. The Hawks won 25-22, 22-25, 25-9, 25-18.

"Never in a million years did I think we would make it this far," senior and four-year player Elaina Sullivan said. "A lot of us never played volleyball before. To get this far is awesome. I'm happy what we accomplished."

Waterford (15-7) had lost exactly one game in the state tournament heading into Wednesday and was tied at a game apiece with Woodland, seemingly with the momentum. Note the word "seemingly."

Woodland won the third game 25-9.

"We stopped competing," Waterford coach Beau Lucas said. "That's what I told them in the huddles. We stopped competing on each play and settled for just trying to get the ball over. They realized that and responded in the fourth game, but it was too hard to recover."

Sullivan said, "We always say if one person gets down, don't let yourself get down and pick them back up. We didn't do that."

Woodland (20-1) will play for the Class M title Saturday against No. 6 Foran, a 3-1 winner over No. 18 Rocky Hill on Wednesday night.

Jill Sykora had 20 digs for the Lancers while Alexandra Moger had 15 kills and Amanda Tourjee had 23 assists.

"My goal was to have this program do this in three to five years. I didn't expect it to come this soon," said Lucas, in his second season. "It took some time. All the glory goes to the kids. They did all the work."

The Lancers, whose girls' soccer team will play for the Class M championship Saturday, came quite close to giving the school a chance to win two state titles in girls' sports this fall and a third (joining softball) in the last six months.

Lucas has no doubt about the program's future popularity.

"People are starting to get more interested," he said. "We have a grassroots program at the middle school. Once they get a feel for how fast paced it is and understand it a little more, I guarantee they'll start to gravitate to it."

m.dimauro@theday.com

Waterford players, from left, Alexander Mojer, Ashli Rossi and Amanda Tourjee fight back tears after losing in the Class M semis Wednesday.
Waterford players, from left, Alexander Mojer, Ashli Rossi and Amanda Tourjee fight back tears after losing in the Class M semis Wednesday. Tim Cook/The Day Buy Photo
Waterford's Amanda Tourjee goes to one knee to come up with a dig during the Lancers' 3-1 loss to No. 1 Woodland in the Class M volleyball semifinals Wednesday night at Glastonbury High School.
Waterford's Amanda Tourjee goes to one knee to come up with a dig during the Lancers' 3-1 loss to No. 1 Woodland in the Class M volleyball semifinals Wednesday night at Glastonbury High School. Tim Cook/The Day Buy Photo
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