HARTFORD >> The road to the Class S state championship didn’t run out as early as it did last season for No. 7 East Hampton, but a familiar foe sent the Bellringers fishing this year.
No. 3 Lyman Memorial eliminated East Hampton for the second straight season with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-20) triumph in the semifinals at Sports Medical Sciences Academy on Wednesday.
East Hampton finishes the season at 18-7. Lyman Memorial advances to the final on Friday at 7 p.m. in Berlin vs. either Morgan or Coventry. Despite the tough finish, Bellringers coach John Post praised his team.
“I couldn’t be prouder of this group,” Post said. “My seniors have gone to two semifinals in the last three years, two conference finals. This group is impressive.”
Last season, the Bellringers lost to Lyman Memorial in the first round of the state tournament. Post said the Bulldogs are a tough team to beat and controlled the flow of the match.
“They served very well tonight,” he said. “It just made it so difficult for us to get into our offense.”
East Hampton’s Dakota Reed had a team-high 22 assists and nine digs, Katie Beem and Shayla Belanger had 21 digs apiece and Hailey Picking and Grace Fales added 12 digs each.
The Bellringers kept each game close, rallying in the second to close the gap to 24-22. However, a back-and-forth exchange ended in a failed East Hampton dig attempt, giving Lyman Memorial the game.
In the third game, East Hampton rallied from another deficit, cutting into the Bulldogs’ eight-point lead to make it 24-19. However, a block landed in East Hampton territory, ending the match and the Bellringers’ season, again.
Post said the Bellringers couldn’t recover from the big early deficits.
“It was really tough to fight back,” Post said. “We did, but it was a little too late.”