HIGGANUM >>The Haddam-Killingworth girls’ volleyball team was in complete control of their Shoreline Conference home opener against Coginchaug as the sun still shone through the windows of the H-K Field House. But once the sky darkened, the Blue Devils made things interesting.
H-K handily won the first two sets before the Blue Devils made a comeback, taking sets three and four and sending the match to a fifth and deciding set, which was won by the Cougars.
“The first two were fairly easy, I thought we had a lot of control and all of a sudden the third and fourth were a complete reversal,” said H-K coach Richard Langer. “To be honest, I didn’t think we would be able to get back the momentum enough in the fifth game.”
H-K, which improved to 4-1, prevailed 25-13, 25-12, 18-25, 14-25 and 15-8.
Both teams came out with a lot of energy as the first set went back and forth. Each team scored eight points before the Cougars gained control. The next 12 of 13 points went to the home team and H-K took the first set.
The second set was ‘like a perfect game’ as H-K recorded eight kills and didn’t make a single hitting or serving error. The Cougars jumped out to a 4-0 lead and after 16 points led 14-2.
Coginchaug coach Clare Matasavage changed her lineup after the second game and it worked.
The Blue Devils, who donned red, white and blue, took a 3-0 lead, their first advantage of the match and stayed at least one point ahead the entire third set before reeling off eight of nine on their way to a third set victory.
“We’re still working on where to put people in the lineup, so I changed that,” said Matasavage.
The Cougars made six hitting errors in the third set and the Blue Devils took advantage.
The complete reversal was in full effect during the fourth game. Coginchaug took a dominating 11-2 lead with some big kills by Hayley Brant, Caryn Sibiskie and Sydney Trusty, and even though game point was held off for four straight serves, Coginchaug tied the match at and forced a fifth game.
“I drastically changed my middle hitters and my outside hitters and where I had them in the rotation,” said Matasavage. “I kept the big girls in the back row instead of subbing them out for the younger kids.”
With the momentum clearly in the Blue Devils favor, as well as the first point of the fifth set going their way, it was going to be tough for H-K to come back. But they did. Tied at 6, H-K scored six straight points en route to the fifth set win.
“The plays early on made a difference,” said Langer. “Once we got up a couple points it made a difference. Today was just a great match for both teams.”
“You keep swinging at them and the ball kept coming back,” said Matasavage. “If you’re giving the other team 10 easy points, it’s tough to come back from anything like that.”
The Cougars were led by Carly Church (32 assists) and Olivia Parmalee (11 kills).