Killingly beats Waterford in early-season matchup of unbeatens

Waterford's Olivia Pacheco passes the ball to a teammate during Monday's 3-0 loss to Killingly in an early-season matchup of ECC Division II unbeatens in Waterford. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
Waterford's Olivia Pacheco passes the ball to a teammate during Monday's 3-0 loss to Killingly in an early-season matchup of ECC Division II unbeatens in Waterford. (Dana Jensen/The Day)

Waterford — Waterford was tied at 7 with Killingly early in the first game of Monday’s volleyball match.

All of Killingly’s points were gained via errors by the Lancers.

It was evident which team had veterans and which team was still learning during the early-season matchup between two unbeaten Eastern Connecticut Conference Division II teams. A miscommunication between teammates would lead to the ball hitting the floor instead of being passed to a hitter. Or a hitter would get a good pass to kill and fired it into the net.

Senior Ally Conde had 13 kills, four blocks and two aces as Killingly downed the Lancers 25-17, 25-12, 25-21.

“We have a fair amount of seniors that haven’t had top experience and they’re getting it for the first time,” Waterford head coach Matt Maynard said, “and we have a lot of younger players coming up and really pulling their weight and doing great stuff. So we have a really good mix of youth and leadership.

"But, as you saw tonight, we just need to put a little more of that together.”

Middle hitters Ana Magano (senior) and Olivia Pacheco (junior) are the lone returning starters for the Lancers (4-1, 0-1).

“We just didn’t capitalize when we could,” Waterford junior setter Gretchen Dusza said. “We haven’t really faced a team like (Killingly) so far in our run, so it’s kind of like we know now what we need to work on in practice.”

Killingly (5-0, 1-0) is one of the two unbeaten teams left in the ECC (defending CIAC Class S champion Lyman Memorial is the other). Five of its six starters are seniors. That includes Reilly Allen (middle hitter), Meredith Zamperini (setter) and Conde (middle hitter), who all earned ECC Division II first team honors last season.

Killingly also advanced to the Class M quarterfinals last season, the farthest the program had ever gone in states.

“We realized throughout last season that the more we come together, the more we pick each other up, the better we play, the better we go out there and give it our all,” Conde said. “We’re just such a close team this year. I don’t think we’ve had that in past seasons. I honestly could not be more happy.”

Behold, the power of positivity.

“It honestly goes a long way,” Conde said with a smile.

Zamperini had 11 assists and Allen five kills and two aces for Killingly.

Pacheco had seven kills and three blocks for Waterford and Dusza had 15 assists. Sophomore Ryleigh Gonyo added five kills.

“This has been our first really big test,” Maynard said. “We played a couple of teams that hadn’t challenged us like Killingly challenged us tonight. And so it was really something we needed to show us where we need to get to.

“(We have) lots of great energy and lots of great potential. When these girls put it all together, we’re going to be something special.”

n.griffen@theday.com

Waterford's Olivia Gianakos spikes the ball over Killingly's Reilly Allen (7) during Monday night's ECC Division II match at Waterford. Killingly beat the Lancers 3-0. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
Waterford's Olivia Gianakos spikes the ball over Killingly's Reilly Allen (7) during Monday night's ECC Division II match at Waterford. Killingly beat the Lancers 3-0. (Dana Jensen/The Day)

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