SOUTH WINDSOR>> After Monday’s CCC volleyball battle between Glastonbury and South Windsor, Glastonbury coach Mariel Frey would have been content if her team had lost and South Windsor coach Tina Holt felt like her team should have won.
That’s not what happened. But the two teams learned a lot about themselves in the process.
The Tomahawks defeated the Bobcats in five sets (25-21, 25-15, 24-26, 18-25, 15-8) at Hugh Greer/Charlie Sharos Gymnasium at South Windsor High School.
“I’m actually really excited,” Frey said. “Even if we had lost the game, I would have been excited moving forward, because we did things that we haven’t done yet this year. So I’m excited to see where that goes and push them even harder.”
She described her team as scrappy.
“Even though we didn’t always get the points on a lot of those plays, they got a lot of balls up that I didn’t expect them to get up,” Frey said. “They worked really well together on defense and everything that we’ve been working on.”
After winning the first two sets, the Tomahawks looked as if they would ease to their fifth win of the season. But South Windsor, led by emotional leader Kanela Allen (10 kills and 14 digs), won two straight sets to force a fifth game in front of its home crowd.
“They’re a great team,” Holt said. “We know that they always come in here really strong and I just felt like in Game 1 and Game 2, we really weren’t playing our best. We were’t executing simple plays of passing and defense, which is usually our strong point and we turned it around by making less errors and passing and playing better defense.”
But Glastonbury came back strong.
After tying the set at 5-5, the Tomahawks went on an 7-0 run to win the final set, 15-8, and the match. Glastonbury was led by Sarah LeClair and Cameron Hendricks, who had 14 kills apiece.
“I really felt like we had the momentum into Game 5 and I really felt like we were going to win,” Holt said. “But in a 15 point game, just a couple of those errors to put us down by four or five points, it’s really hard to recover.”
That fifth set, Glastonbury finally learned to hit away from Alex Gosselin, South Windsor’s libero.
“My top outside [Alaina Maglio] and my top right side [Hendricks] were really having trouble, because they were banging the ball,” Frey said. “They were banging it to the libero or to middle back and a lot of other teams in our conference, you get points on those balls. With South Windsor, they’re digging us up, so we were pushing it more towards our middles the latter part of the match.”
Gosselin recorded 17 digs and kept the defense “flowing better” according to her coach.
Both teams lost a lot of experience from last year, but both coaches are excited by what they saw tonight.
“I have two strong seniors and I have eight really strong juniors,” Frey said. “So it’s kind of why I was so excited about what I saw tonight. I saw our potential and what we can do in postseason hopefully.”
Glastonbury lost to Greenwich in the Class LL quarterfinals last season and South Windsor lost to Amity in the second round.
“To take a younger team where everybody says you loss all your seniors last year and it’s a rebuilding year, I don’t like to use that term,” Holt said. “Because it’s all experience. They’ve all been in this program. They all play off-season. They really are a close knit group and that’s really what we’re playing off right now.”
Rachel Levine had 14 kills and eight digs for South Windsor.
Alexandra Kos handed out 34 assists for Glastonbury.
South Windsor looks to learn from this game and use it towards upcoming tough matches, especially against Northwest Catholic on Wednesday. Glastonbury will host Manchester on Friday in a CCC North game.