East Lyme defeats Lyman Memorial to win ECC Division I volleyball championship
New London — The score says the East Lyme High School volleyball team had an easier time of it against Lyman Memorial than it did earlier in the season, with a 3-1 victory Friday night that brought the Vikings the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I tournament championship.
On Sept. 15, East Lyme edged Lyman in a five-game matchup.
But you couldn't prove that this near-two-hour back-and-forth was anything but difficult by asking East Lyme coach Jack Biggs.
"They played great, great defense. We had to really win the mental game," Biggs said. "We tried to carry over how we finished that third set and win the fourth set. We held together. We talked about body language. 'Let's go.' ... We had other pieces go in. Summer Dubreuil played in like three matches this year and she was our big-time server."
Second-seeded East Lyme won 25-18, 27-25, 21-25, 25-18, rallying for the four-game win after No. 1 Lyman, with plenty of firepower from the front line of Fallon Bailey and Callie Nanos, shifted the momentum with a Game Three victory.
Ella Freed, a senior, was named Most Outstanding Player for the Vikings with 26 kills, 10 digs and four aces.
Shae McMunn added 40 assists for East Lyme, libero Skylar Bell 10 digs and Savannah Soleau — the ECC champion in the shot put — had 11 kills, many of them late as the Vikings shook off a 7-3 Lyman lead in the fourth game with the Bulldogs threatening to take the match to five games once again.
The fourth set was tied 12-12 on a kill by Lyman's Bailey when East Lyme crept ahead by a 13-12 margin after a Lyman block attempt sailed out of bounds. East Lyme's next point precipitated a Lyman timeout and the Vikings pushed the lead to 15-12.
Then, with Dubreuil, a junior, serving, East Lyme went from 26-13 to 20-13 on the back of two kills from Soleau, prompting another Lyman timeout as the East Lyme victory was in sight.
"She is one of the most energetic, positive, team players we've ever had at East Lyme High School," Biggs said of Soleau.
Both teams entered the match at 18-2, with East Lyme advancing to the championship after a 3-0 win over No. 3 Fitch and Lyman beating No. 4 Ledyard 3-1. Lyman rallied in its fourth game against Ledyard after trailing 24-21.
The Vikings have now won 13 straight, although their string of not losing a game for 10 straight matches came to an end. East Lyme also ended the Bulldogs' 15-match winning streak.
East Lyme, the third seed, will next compete in the Class L state tournament beginning Monday against No. 30 Foran. Lyman is the No. 3 seed in Class S and will have a first-round bye before playing a second-round game Wednesday against either East Catholic or Old Lyme.
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