Waterford loses to defending champion Lyman in ECC Div. II volleyball final
Norwich — The Lyman Memorial volleyball team uses its serve to attack much like a swarm of bees — inevitably one of them is going to sting you.
Waterford had taken an eight-point lead midway through Game 2 of Thursday’s Eastern Connecticut Conference Division II final and was handling the Bulldogs’ serve well.
It didn’t last as Lyman finally began to sting the Lancers with its serve. Repeatedly.
The top-seeded Bulldogs blitzed No. 2 Waterford with two long service runs to come back and win the second game and sweep the match, 25-13, 25-18, 25-12.
“They really came at us a lot harder than we expected them to in the second game,” Lancers senior Molly Kosma said. “We definitely got up more in the second game (after losing the first). We worked harder. We pushed more, but Lyman is really good.
“We worked our best. (We) just got a little frazzled.”
Lyman (20-2) is the defending CIAC Class S champion.
Waterford (14-7) had a 15-7 lead in Game 2 and was on the attack.
The Lancers lost serve on fortuitous play by Bulldogs senior Kathryn Meese. She was forced to play a free ball with her back to the net and dug it over. The ball found an open hole in the Waterford defense up front for a Lyman point.
Emerson Bailey, one of the Bulldogs’ best thumpers up front, immediately threw the Lancers’ serve-receive for a loop with two early aces. And whatever serves Waterford managed to dig and get back over the net led to Lyman kills.
The Bulldogs cut the Lancers’ lead to 15-14 before Waterford’s Sydney Tabor (seven kills) had a solo kill to stop the run.
Senior Leah Vichas had a kill to give Lyman back the serve trailing 18-15. She served out for the win.
“When you have so many servers who are capable of going on a run, it’s only a matter of time before one of them gets into a rhythm,” Lyman coach Amanda Nappi said. “It’s a credit to their commitment to being good servers, and that we can take a team out of their system.
Waterford coach Matt Maynard said, “We were able to come back and stop certain runs, and certain runs we couldn’t. They were just really strong in that area. … They got it done tonight.”
It wasn't fair that Lyman got its two best service runs with Bailey (10 kills) and Vichas, two of its top hitters. More unfair was the havoc wrought by Lyman's Meg Verizzi. The 5-foot-3 senior is not only the team’s best passer (12 assists), she’s one of its most effective hitters (six kills), using a combination of great hops and savvy to hit the ball to open spots.
Verizzi was named tournament MVP.
“She’s kind of been put at setter her whole career,” Nappi said. “Our sophomore setter, Indigo (Hevner), has really developed over the course of the season and we're confident at this point where Meg can be freed up for three of the rotations to hit and pass. It’s what she enjoys the most, so I’m happy for her in her senior year that she’s able to do that.”
Junior Gretchen Dusza had eight assists for Waterford, which fought back from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 to beat Griswold in the semifinals.
“I’m really happy with how our players fought,” Maynard said. “It was a real fight to get here tonight. They deserve a lot of credit for that.”
• Tournament MVP Paula Hernandez had 18 kills, 12 digs and four aces as third-seeded Woodstock Academy swept No. 1 Killingly 25-19, 25-10, 25-18 to win the ECC Division I title. Sammy Orlowski had 28 assists for Woodstock and Caroline Eaton added nine kills..
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