Support Local News.

We are in the community, every day, covering the local news that matters to you. In 2022, we want to do more. We're planning an in-depth investigation into economic mobility in the region, starting with the availability of affordable housing. We can't do this project without financial support, and are asking for your help on Giving Tuesday.
Please support our work by donating today.

Bacon outlasts New London to win first ECC volleyball title in program history

New London — When the match was over, Bacon Academy coach Scott Dumond, more than his team winning the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division II volleyball championship, was thrilled to have built a program.

He embraced New London coach Missy Parker, whom the No. 2 Bobcats defeated 25-10, 18-25, 25-15, 25-5 for the program's first title, and later explained that he believes Parker holds the same ideals as he does in coaching.

"I met her when I took the job over," Dumond said of Parker. "She's doing the same thing as I am, trying to get girls to win, trying to get girls to believe in themselves ... trying to change peoples' lives. For me, this isn't about me. We're trying to build better people here.

"In five years (with Dumond as coach), this is our best regular season, our best postseason run, we're the No. 11 seed in the state tournament. It's all good for us and and takes pretty incredible young ladies to get us here."

Bacon sophomore Kiera Stewart was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, finishing with 23 assists, while Leah Brown and Grace Gorreck each had 11 kills. Emma Mancuso and Jen Whipple had seven kills each and Whipple added three aces and two blocks. Brown had three blocks.

Bacon (16-5) was the ECC Division III champ during the regular season with New London (16-5) taking the Division IV title.

Dumond's team set the tone early with an easy victory in Game One, with Meghan Swanke presiding over a service run of 13 straight points to make it 14-1. But New London took a 7-3 lead in Game Two and held on with a series of hardfought rallies, as the Whalers lit up their home gym with energy, eliciting a few choruses of "here we go, Whalers."

Nalyce Dudley had eight service points, five digs, four kills and two blocks for New London, Stacey Rivera eight service points, five aces and four digs, Yarielis Ortiz 11 digs and Je'Licia Rivera nine service points and two kills.

Bacon's Stewart said the Bobcats needed to match New London's energy to get the team back on track.

"In the second set, we kind of got down on ourselves," Stewart said. "... Somehow, I really like to reassure people whenever they get down on themselves. There's not a lot you can do when you're not playing the position. I like to say, 'just relax, you're good, just shake it off.' I love picking people up."

"If they doubt themselves at all, they're able to turn to each other," Dumond said. "They make sure they have each other's back on and off the floor."

New London lost to Bacon by 3-0 margins in each of the teams' regular-season meetings, but this time was able to shake off a bad start.

"For them to come back like that," Parker said, "I'm proud of them. I wish it would have carried over. ... We made it to the championship game because we're scrappy. At the end, whatever the score was, they were still diving all over the floor. We're a little bit banged up because of how hard we worked. They fought back and they held on."    

New London’s Nalyce Dudley (7) and Kmara Royster (9) block Bacon Academy’s Jennifer Whipple (24) in the ECC Div. II volleyball tittle game Friday, November 5, 2021 in Conway Gym.  (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
New London’s Nalyce Dudley (7) and Kmara Royster (9) block Bacon Academy’s Jennifer Whipple (24) in the ECC Div. II volleyball tittle game Friday, November 5, 2021 in Conway Gym. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

ECC Div. II volleyball photo gallery

For more photos from the ECC Div. II volleyball final click here.


Loading comments...
Hide Comments