TORRINGTON >> Wolcott Tech (15-3) swept Lewis Mills (8-9) in a wildly more exciting boys volleyball match than a 3-0 score portends.
Game scores – 25-23, 25-11, 26-24 – flesh it out. Even then, numbers don’t describe the full-tilt battle between two hugely talented teams.
Lewis Mills (8-9) won the season’s first match, 3-1, between the area’s only two boys volleyball teams.
“We made 47 unforced errors in that match,” said Wolcott Tech coach Ray Tanguay, vowing his Wildcats wouldn’t do that again.
In Game One Tuesday at Wolcott Tech, four unforced Tech errors helped the Spartan to an 8-7 lead.
“No more unforced errors! No more!” roared Tanguay on the sidelines.
The Wildcats made just three more in that game, 15 in the match.
Nevertheless, despite their middle-of-the-road record, Lewis Mills is a highly skilled team.
Ben Lewis (7 kills, 3 blocks), Anthony Licata (5 kills, 19 digs) and Tim Forella (6 kills, 12 digs, 5 blocks) led the Spartans to a 17-10 Game One margin after an ace by Forella.
The Wildcats were undaunted.
“We played together and we played relaxed,” said senior tri-captain Matt Dell’Agnese (35 assists, 18 digs, 5 blocks, 2 kills). Senior Evan Gazso (6 kills, 2 blocks) started the comeback with a quick-kill and a tap-down.
Mills threw in its own forced errors, 19-17, Mills.
A kill and a block by Forella kicked the Spartan lead up to 21-17.
Three Mills errors, 21-20; a kill by Spartan sophomore Kevin Kryzwick, 22-20, Mills.
“I wanted to win on my senior night,” said Tech’s Dell’Agnese.
He and sophomore Dalton Moreau rose up for one block; Dell’Agnese did it himself for another, 22-22.
Ryan Lojewski (18 kills, 2 blocks, 18 digs), another senior tri-captain, powered a kill through Mills blocks, 23-22, Wildcats.
Mills’ Lewis got the tie back with a kill, 23-23. Refs called a Mills hold, 24-23, Wildcats.
Dell-Agnese and sophomore Dave Colombie (5 blocks, 2 digs) soared for the final block, 25-23.
“They definitely came to play,” said Spartan coach Jim Barone. “They took us out of our game. The comeback in Game One caught us off guard.”
“Once we get rolling, we’re hard to stop,” said Tech senior Dante Curry.
That was Game Two’s story.
Tech had it to 10-0 before Mills scored its first point. Rattled from Game One’s Wildcat comeback, Spartan errors did much of the work in Game Two.
Blocks by Forella and Klyzwick slowed the Wildcats momentarily at 18-10, but Tech was on a Game Two mission aided by Mills errors and an ace by senior Jake Thulin, 25-11.
“We got a rally and kept going,” said Thulin. “It was a lot of fun out there.”
Game Three was the final showpiece for both teams.
Forella led an opening surge for Mills to a 9-3 lead. Errors and a Colombie block let the Wildcats back in, 10-7.
At 11-9, Mills, the Wildcats spotlit a weapon that carried them home. Senior tri-captain Taegan Murphy, one of the smallest athletes on a floor full of giants, turned into one of the biggest in Game Three.
Murphy (14 kills, 17 digs) hammered a wicked cross-court kill for 11-9, Mills. After Mills errors and a Dell’Agnese block, Murphy did it again to break a 13-13 tie.
Down 17-15, Murphy hit an empty spot on Mills court, then broke another tie, 19-19, scoring the next three Wildcat points on kills, 22-20.
Forella, Lewis and Licata carried Mills close to a win, 24-23, Spartans. Tech’s Lojewski fended them off with a kill, 24-24.
Two wide Spartan shots in a row ended the match, 26-24.
“Hands down, this is one of the best teams I’ve had in the 16 years since I started the program,” said Wildcat coach Tanguay.
The Wildcats try for another payback win, at Farmington, next Tuesday.
Mills goes to Enfield Friday.
Wolcott Tech 3, Lewis Mills 0
(25-23, 25-11, 26-24)
At Wolcott Tech High School
Highlights: LM – Ben Lewis 7 kills, 3 blocks; Anthony Licata 5 kills, 19 digs; Tim Forella 6 kills, 12 digs, 5 blocks; Austin Gilbert 15 assists. WT – Matt Dell’Agnese – 35 assists, 18 digs, 5 blocks, 2 kills; Ryan Lajewski 18 kills, 2 blocks, 18 digs; Taegan Murphy 14 kills, 17 digs; Evan Gazso 6 kills, 2 blocks; Dave Colombie 5 blocks, 2 digs; Dalton Moreau 4 blocks, 6 digs.
Records: Lewis Mills 8-9; Wolcott Tech 15-3