RIDGEFIELD — It’s usually difficult to defeat the same team three times in one season, but the way the Greenwich High School girls volleyball team is playing lately, no challenge seems to be too tough for coach Steve Lapham’s squad.
Saturday’s CIAC Class LL Tournament quarterfinal game between Greenwich and Ridgefield marked the third meeting of the season between the two rivals and this anticipated matchup had the same ending as the previous two — much to the delight of the Cardinals.
Sixth-seeded Greenwich remained on a roll, registering an impressive 3-0 victory over third-seeded Ridgefield in the Class LL quarterfinals. With their 18th consecutive victory, the surging Cardinals (22-4) advanced to Wednesday’s semifinal-round, where they will play second-seeded Southington at a time and site yet to be determined.
Senior tri-captain Maggy Egan recorded 15 service points, including four aces, and added 14 kills and two assists for Greenwich, which won the match by set scores of 25-15, 25-22, 25-7. The Cardinals, which suffered a 3-2 loss to the Tigers in last season’s Class LL Tournament semifinals, swept Ridgefield during the regular season and won a 3-1 decision in the semifinal-round of the FCIAC Tournament.
“It was our defense and knowing where to hit,” Egan said. “They have a nice defense as well, but hitting spots is what got us the win. This win will help us bring a lot of energy into the next game.”
Tara Ford, a senior tri-captain, tallied seven kills, as did senior Erika Hauschild for Greenwich. Senior setter/tri-captain Nicole Wood notched 17 service points with four aces, while senior libero Adnerys De Jesus registered 28 digs in the winning effort.
“In our huddle before the game, we knew what we had to do and who to target the most,” Ford said. “We were really focused in our warm-up and we were ready to go. We had our goal set and we accomplished it.”
Lauren Thrasher, a senior, had 10 assists, while senior Caroline Curnal added eight digs and four kills for Ridgefield. The Tigers, who made it to the championship match of the Class LL tourney last fall, finished their season at 17-4, with three of those losses coming against the Cards.
“I’m happy I had an opportunity to be a part of this great program,” said Curnal, an outside hitter/co-captain. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls to compete with. Teaching the younger players on the team was a great experience. We all enjoyed working together as a team.”
Greenwich didn’t trail once during the three sets. The Cardinals jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the first game on a tip from junior Amelia Bartlett and an ace from Hauschild. Later in the set a kill from Wood gave the visiting Cardinals a 20-9 advantage. Bartlett served an ace to seal the first set.
“We wanted to play smart and focus on getting our serves in,” Wood said. “We made sure we served to spots and hit the spots where they weren’t positioned. I have really dependable hitters with Maggy and Tara there and a lot of great options.”
Strong serving helped Greenwich build a 9-3 lead in the second set, but Ridgefield came back, closing to within 23-22 on back-to-back aces from Thrasher.
“We’re all sad that we had to leave this way, we wanted to go out with a bang,” Thrasher said. “It was a great season for us, we all really fought hard. Greenwich is a great team, they are very loud on the court and they know how to place it where we aren’t.”
Egan’s tip resulted in the last point of the second set for GHS.
Displaying great defensive play and excellent passing, Greenwich dominated the third game, seizing leads of 10-4 and 20-5. Ford put down numerous kills, as did Egan during the Cards’ surge.
“Maggy and Erika got us going with their serves,” Lapham said. “I thought we kept the pressure on them an they were out of system a lot. We just played cleaner volleyball. Fortunately, we won that second set and the third set was just beautiful.”
Junior Carolina Lew had five service points with two aces to also pace GHS.
“We did amazing,” De Jesus said. “We needed to communicate and that’s what we did today. Our defense and offense was on point and everyone was in tune.”
“This was a very good group of girls to coach and we had a great season,” Ridgefield coach Lidania Cibere said. “Most of us are more upset that the season is over than the fact that we lost. Give Greenwich credit, they just don’t make mistakes. They pass the ball well, hit the ball well and they barely made a mistake.”
GREENWICH 3, RIDGEFIELD 0
RIDGEFIELD 15 22 7
GREENWICH 25 25 25