Volleyball Team Eliminated By Blue Wave In Five Sets
A back-and-forth Class LL State Tournament second round battle between the host Newtown High School and Darien girls’ volleyball teams went to a fifth and deciding game before the visitors prevailed on November 8.
No. 12 Darien, which was beaten not once but twice by the No. 5 Nighthawks during the regular campaign, overcame a two-games-to-one deficit to win 3-2 (25-21, 25-27, 21-25, 29-27, 15-11).
With the victory, the Wave will host No. 13 Glastonbury, an upset winner over fourth-seeded Trumbull, in the Saturday, November 10 quarterfinals.
The Nighthawks were at match point, leading 24-19 in game four, following Hannah Groonell’s ace. Darien somehow kept the next play, and its season, alive with a couple of quick defensive plays to narrowly prevent the ball from hitting the floor.
Darien scored five straight points to even the game at 24-apiece, and overcame a pair of one-point deficits to extend the match.
Newtown fell behind 27-26 but evened the score following a Genevieve Murray block, but Darien got the next two points to force a decisive fifth game.
After falling behind 1-0 in game five, the Wave got three straight points. After Newtown tied things 3-3, the Wave reclaimed the lead for good.
Down four, the Hawks got to within a point at 9-8, but got no closer. The comeback effort was highlighted by a tremendous quick-reaction play by two Nighthawks in which Veronica Kroha quickly put her foot out to save the ball just before it went to the floor, and Kim Buttery deflected the ball over the net off the carom. After the ball was returned by Darien, Kroha finished the sequence with a hard-hit spike; that made it 9-7.
Both teams had strong defensive efforts resulting in long rallies and hard-earned points. Service errors by the Nighthawks and a strong blocking game by Darien were big difference makers.
There were 29 ties, including 13 in the second game, and 14 lead exchanges during the match.
Kroha had 11 kills and three aces; Murray had 13 kills and two blocks; Buttery registered 42 assists and 12 digs; and Mollie Goudy had 15 digs for the Nighthawks.
Groonell had seven kills and nine digs; Natalie Horn had four kills and 12 digs; Sarah Nowacki had four kills and five digs; and Erin Mitchell added a trio of kills for the Nighthawks.
Check back on The Bee’s webpage and in the November 16 print edition for more coverage of the match and recap of the season.
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