Morgan volleyball ends Coventry’s title run with sweep, advances to Class S final

HARTFORD >> Top seeded Morgan was the last team to win a Class S championship before Coventry ran off seven straight state titles.

On Wednesday at Sports Medical Sciences Academy, the Huskies loosened Coventry’s stranglehold of Class S, sweeping the defending champs 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-19), to advance to the state title game.

Coventry’s run of seven consecutive state crowns began in 2006 with a victory over Haddam-Killingworth in the final. Morgan coach Joe Grippo said it’s been a long time since the Huskies have enjoyed a win of this magnitude.

“It feels like eons ago,” the coach said. “It’s huge and my setter’s bust their tails and I thought Sami Ashton was just incredible tonight keeping the ball off the floor for us.”

The 25-0 Huskies, who won their 22nd straight Shoreline Conference crown this season, will face No. 3 Lyman Memorial, which swept No. 7 East Hampton in the other semifinal, Friday at 7 at Berlin. Grippo said it will be a tough matchup, but his team will be prepared for it

“The only way we know how to play is play hard,” he said. “They’re going to do likewise. I saw them play Waterford,

I’m really impressed with them, I know what they can do. It’ll be a great match.”

His group was ready to play hard against Coventry, according to Lily Dawson. She said she lost in the Class S final her freshman year, now a senior, Dawson was eager to get back to the title game.

“We’re pumped to go the championship,” she said. “None of us, except for the seniors and I, have been there. We got there my freshman year and haven’t gotten there since. We’re all really pumped.

That energy showed throughout the match, as Dawson had 31 assists and five digs, Jen Dawson added 16 kills and six digs, Emily Popp and Ashton both added eight digs apiece to lead the Huskies and Popp also contributed four service aces.

The Huskies were in control from the onset, wrapping up the first game by seven and opening the second game on a 6-0 run. Morgan went on to capture the second game by eight. Game three was a bit closer, but a Coventry timeout gave Grippo a chance to settle down his team. However, he said he knew his girls were not going to let this one slip away.

“We had a few mistakes in terms of our positioning defensively in game three,” Grippo said. “When he called the timeout, I addressed it and I don’t know if that’s what did it, but it’s really just the resolve of this team. When the game’s close at the end, they really believe they’re still going to win.”

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