MIDDLETOWN>> In a five set thriller, Xavier prevailed in the fifth set 16-14 to beat Shelton in the SCC semi-finals on Tuesday at Xavier High School.
In a match that seemed to have everything, the fifth set showcased it all.
The Falcons came out slow in the fifth set, making three errors in the first six points, handing the Gaels a 8-2 lead.
“We were playing not to lose at that point,” Xavier coach John Post said.
But then Xavier woke up.
“A couple things went our way,” Post said. “We were able to make a small run, get back in and fight for it in the end.”
The Falcons scored the next six points to tie the score at 8-8. They took the lead at 10-9 before alternating points until the final two of the night.
The attacking duo of Andre Zumerchik (21 kills, 15 digs) and John Babon (14 kills) was a force all night for the Falcons, combing for 35 kills. Babon had five in the fifth set alone.
“I’m okay with where we’re at,” Shelton coach LeAnne Bianchine said. “The last two times we played them [Xavier] we went down in four games. For them to have to earn this win, I’m very happy with my team.”
Shelton won the first set 25-22, before Xavier took the second and third, 25-21 and 29-27. The Gaels forced the deciding set with a 25-20 win in the fourth.
Grant Fevrier led Shelton with 28 kills and 23 digs. Erik Kocur contributed in a big way with 22 kills and 11 digs and Hunter Yocum had 25 digs.
Xavier plays Cheshire in the SCC finals on Thursday at 6 p.m. in Cheshire.