After battling it opponent for three games things got a little out of hand for the Weston High volleyball team when it took on Ledyard in the semifinals of the state Class M tournament.
The second-seeded Trojans were down 2-1 in games going into the fourth contest on Wednesday, Nov. 14. Their chances got farther and farther out of reach as they eventually succumbed to the third-seeded Colonels, who pulled off a 3-1 (25-21, 24-26, 26-24, 25-15) upset win at Berlin High to advance to the finals.
“Ledyard had very tall and aggressive players, which gave us trouble with our offense,” said Weston head coach Jamie Charles. “They also served well and they had very scrappy defense.”
It was not the only difficult match of the tournament for the Trojans, who hosted seventh-seeded Rocky Hill two days earlier. They also trailed 2-1 after three games before batting back and taking the match 3-2 (25-20, 27-29, 17-25, 25-11, 15-13), dethroning the defending Class M champs in the process.
“That third game was not our best effort,” said Charles. “The girls knew they had to play better and were much better in the fourth game.”
The momentum the Trojans established in the fourth contest went with them to the fifth as they took an 11-7 lead. The tide temporarily turned as the Terriers reeled off five straight points and were up 12-11 and threatened to take the match.
Weston, however, won back the serve to tie it at 13-13 before securing the last two points to keep the season going and earn its first trip to the semifinals since 2010.
Savannah Carpenter led Weston with 12 kills, 18 digs and 11 service points. Taylor Swanson had 26 assists to go with 11 digs, six points and four blocks. Justine Belport finished with nine kills, 17 digs and 10 points while Anna Hengelbrok had six kills, 13 digs and six blocks.
Fran Holmes had 18 digs, 10 points, five blocks and four kills. Sydney Weiss had eight digs and Kelly Babcock had seven points.
Weston, which had upset Ledyard in the first round of last year’s tournament, was in for a battle right from the start of this season’s semifinal match. The Colonels broke a 20-20 tie in the first game, going on a 5-1 run to win it.
Weston held on in the second, going up 23-20 but Ledyard tied it twice before the former closed out the win.
Ledyard led most of the third game as Weston trailed 18-11 and later at 24-20 before tying it up, only to have its opponent take the last two points.
The momentum swung in Ledyard’s favor in the fourth as it went up 16-5 and never looked back, moving on to the finals and ultimately upsetting top-ranked Woodland 3-0 for the title.
Carpenter had 12 kills, 21 digs and four blocks. Holmes had 21 digs and eight kills while Hengelbrok had 23 digs. Swanson had 25 assists, 14 digs and 11 points.
Weiss had 10 digs. Belport had five kills and six digs.
“It was quite a season,” said Charles, whose team finished at 18-4 overall. “The girls certainly battled through a lot of adversity in many matches and I know they became stronger and more confident based on that.”