BERLIN >> Coventry girls volleyball is back on top of the Class S world.
The Patriots used strong defense to beat fourth-seeded Lyman Memorial 15-12 in the fifth set of the Class S title game at Berlin High School.
This is Coventry’s 10th state championship — all since 2003.
Setter Abbie Zadrozny was named the tournament most valuable player for her 35 assist, 22 dig and nine kill performance in the championship.
“It just means the world,” junior Mikaela Hartl said. “We worked so hard this entire year, we had our eyes on this goal and to complete it, it’s amazing.”
Hartl, battling an illness throughout the match, finished with 19 kills and seven digs.
“I just knew it was our last game of the season and I wasn’t going to give up,” Hartl said. “Just push through it, I wasn’t going to give up on it.”
The five-set title game was only the third time in Coventry history it played more than three sets to win a championship. It won in five sets win vs. Haddam-Killingworth in 2004 and a four set loss to Morgan in 2005.
“We have a deep team, we have a lot of talent and we have a lot of kids that stepped up,” Coventry coach Ryan Giberson said. “Lyman, more than any other team I’ve seen, they just made it nearly impossible for the ball to hit the floor.”
“We thought we were probably the best defensive team in Class S and they gave us a run for our money, absolutely.”
The Patriots looked like they had a straight-set victory, but the Bulldogs staved off five match points and came back to win the third set, 28-26.
“With the crowd rising, it looked like we were going to be put away and the kids turned the tide again, got us to a fifth game and found a way to make it a heck of a championship game,” Lyman Memorial coach Marty Gomez said.
Lyman Memorial evened the match up at two closing with an 8-2 run, but that seemed to take everything the Bulldogs had.
“Kind of ran out of gas,” Gomez said. “And give them credit. We knew their strength was in their control game and in their passing and they were very good at it today. We had them for a while, but that was their strength and give them credit for at the right time stepping their game up.
Lyman had a 4-1 lead in the fifth set, but there was never a time where Gomez could honestly say his team had it won.
“There wasn’t any point in time where I said ‘We got this,'” Gomez said. “We were riding and I was just hoping that we would continue to ride the wave of how we were playing. Just trying to stay composed and see if I could pick up anything that would help at that point in time.”