WATERBURY—Although the Cheshire boys volleyball team beat Farmington twice in the regular season, the Rams expected a tough rematch in the CIAC Class M semifinals on Tuesday. After all, the Indians took the Rams to five games in both matches and Farmington lost 3-2 each time.
This time around, it was all Cheshire.
Southern Connecticut Conference Player of the Year Colby Hayes had 15 kills, three blocks and a dig, Aidan Godfrey added six kills and five digs and Luke Pinciaro had 30 assists and a dig to lead No. 2 Cheshire to a 3-0 win over No. 6 Farmington at Kennedy High. The Rams won 25-17, 25-14, 25-20.
Cheshire advanced to the Class M championship game on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Shelton against No. 1 Newington, which beat No. 4 Wethersfield 3-0 in the other semifinal.
Cheshire coach Sue Bavone and the players had their own take on why this win over the Indians was one-sided.
“When we first played them the games were up and down,” Bavone said. “At this stage of the season we’re more consistent now. We came out and got an early lead tonight and then things just went our way. We did come out a little nervous in the first game. But we came out strong in the second game and that got them in a groove.
“It’s exciting to get back to the final. I learned early in my career to appreciate more how hard it is to get here. I appreciate getting here for our players who worked hard for this.”
— GameTimeCT (@GameTimeCT) June 5, 2019
The Rams make their third appearance in a state final. They made it to the CIAC Class L final in 2010 and 2011 and won the title both times.
“The difference this time and when we played Farmington in the regular season is the level of competition we play against in the state tournament,” Hayes said. “Everyone has started focusing more. We all knew we had to go into this with the mindset that each game could be our last and we needed to play together.
“We have one game left. We need to stay strong, stay focused and play together.”
The first game was close with both teams plagued by unforced errors. When the Indians scored a point to cut the Rams lead to 19-17, Cheshire got its groove back. The Rams scored the last six points to win the game 25-17.
In the second game, the Rams took no prisoners. A Connor Guilford kill gave the Rams a 13-2 lead and they cruised to a 25-14 win.
“We had to grind it out in the first game, but in the second game everyone was energized,” Godfrey said. “We played fast and the early lead gave us confidence. It allowed us to play more aggressive. The difference today and when we played them in the regular season is the atmosphere we felt being in a semifinal game. It brings energy and a different level of commitment for everyone.”
In the third game, early on the Rams struggled with their serves and it allowed the Indians to stay close. The Indians took a 7-5 lead with two bad serves by Cheshire contributing to the lead. But the Rams responded with an 8-2 run for a 13-9 lead and were able to hold on to win the game 25-20 and secure the semifinal win.