WOODBRIDGE — Making its first appearance in the state tournament, the Hamden volleyball team was looking to leave its mark. Unfortunately for the Green Dragons, a familiar foe was the opponent in the opening round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament.
Playing a talented Amity team, No. 25 Hamden saw its run become a quick one as the Green Dragons were swept by the eighth-seeded Spartans 25-10, 25-21 and 25-16 at Amity High Monday night.
“You can’t give them easy points,” Hamden coach Tricia Shugrue said after her team finished 8-14. “They have Allison Denny over there. She can hit the ball anywhere she wants. They are a good team.
“This is a new environment for my girls. This is the first time we have been here in 10 years. We fought hard. We had some mental errors and some miscommunication hurt us.”
While Hamden was getting used to the playoff scene, Amity made it old hat as it cruised in the first game and had 18 different players on the court. The Spartans (18-5) advanced to the second round, where they will play the winner of South Windsor and West Haven contest Thursday night at 7 p.m.
“I told the girls we could have passed better,” Amity coach Paul Thees said. “We could have played better, but we will take it and move on.
“We were able to get 18 kids in. We wanted to make sure everybody played. As we move on, every opponent will get better. It is always tougher. We have to play better.”
Allison Denny was a key force in the win, recording 10 kills on the offensive side and leading the defense with nine digs. Kathryn Pisano also played well with 18 assists and Haley Pierson had nine assists and was 4-for-4 serving with an ace.
The Spartans started strongly, riding the serving of Julia Bedini in the first game. Bedini, who finished the match 9-for-9 serving with seven aces and four kills, used a pair of aces for a 5-3 lead and was at the line for five consecutive points.
After Hamden cut the deficit to 8-6 on a kill by Breanna Kearney, Denny’s kill started a 10-2 run that put the first game away. The run included a pair of kills by Bedini and another kill by Nina Luciani.
The Spartans closed the opening game with three aces by Pisano and an error by the Green Dragons.
“I am extremely happy with the way we played,” Shugrue said. “The girls played their hearts out. That is all I ask for.”
The Green Dragons put a fear into the Spartans in the second game.
After Amity took an 11-2 lead on an ace by Denny and a pair of kills each by Amanda Vecchio and Caroline DelVecchio, Hamden fought back and got within 20-14 on a kill by Kearney.
Another kill by Kearney got the Green Dragons within 22-18, but Amity closed the game out for a 2-0 lead.
Amity jumped out to an early lead in the final game, but Hamden used an ace by Ali Masso and a block by Kearney for an 8-5 lead. Taylor Mayes increased Hamden’s lead to 12-9, but, trailing 14-12, Amity responded with a 13-2 run to close the match.
A kill by Bedini was followed by an ace by Luciani for a 16-14 Amity lead, before Denny’s kill gave the Spartans a 21-16 advantage. A pair of aces by Bedini increased the lead to 23-16 before two Hamden errors ended the match.
Amity’s Vecchio finished with six kills and was 5-for-5 serving and Luciani had three kills, three aces and was 11-for-12 serving.
Jocelyn Rivera led Hamden with 12 digs and five kills, while Desiree Upchurch was 6-for-6 serving.