WINSTED >> Platt Tech was no match for Northwestern in a Highlander 3-0 sweep (25-9, 25-10, 25-5) in the CIAC Class M Volleyball first round Monday evening.
The Highlanders (19-2), ranked fourth in the division, plowed through the Berkshire League to a regular-season championship, undefeated in the league, then added the league’s tournament crown in a close final with Class M No. 13 Lewis Mills (14-8) last Friday.
Platt Tech (8-13) qualified No. 29 from the Constitution State League to make the long trip from Milford, facing a red hot Highlander team whose biggest strength might be serving.
Monday, the Highlanders blew 35 aces across the net. When the Panthers returned their serves, Northwestern went to work on 20 kills.
“Our serving builds our confidence,” said junior Molly Porch (7 kills, 7 aces), reeling off the first long string of Highlander aces in Game One.
“The trick is not to try too hard,” said libero Morgan Twombly (1 assist, 8 aces, 2 kills), with a long string in Game Two. “We just go back to the service line and work up to the hard serves. Once we get there, that means better passes and better sets.”
By the end of Game Two (25-10), it wasn’t too soon to look ahead to a fourth match with Lewis Mills, Northwestern’s second-round opponent on Wednesday, though the Highlanders’ third game with Platt Tech Monday was the most convincing of all, 25-5.
The Highlanders found it easier to stick to business because Mills, 3-0 winners over Prince Tech, caught them off guard for a first-game win in Friday’s Berkshire League Tournament final.
“We showed up flat after an easy semi-final set,” said Coach Jon Hurlock. “This time, we need to show up mentally tough.”
“They’re a good Berkshire League opponent, but beating ourselves is our only real problem,” said senior Molly Clarke (7 kills, 6 aces Monday).
“We need to not be so mental,” said Porch.
If Northwestern beats Mills for the fourth time Wednesday (6 p.m. at Northwestern High School), the Highlanders will match the program’s deepest run in the tournament (quarterfinals) since at least 1996.
“We don’t have any real tournament goal,” said Coach Hurlock. “The girls are so driven, we just want to leave everything on the court.
No. 4 Northwestern 3, No. 29 Platt Tech 0
(25-9, 25-10, 25-5)
At Northwestern High School
Highlights: P – Amanda Vankuran 1 assist, 1 kill, 1 ace; Moni Parks 1 kill; Bridget Wilkinson 1 kill. NW – Morgan Twombly 1 assist, 8 aces, 2 kills; Molly Porch 7 kills, 7 aces; Victoria Grantmeyer 2 kills, 5 aces; Molly Clarke 7 kills, 6 aces.
Records: Platt Tech 8-13; Northwestern 19-2.