STAMFORD—There was revenge. There was aggression. There was retribution. There was history repeating itself. And there was a volleyball message sent loud and clear.
The Greenwich Academy girls volleyball team traveled to the King gym Thursday and simply dominated the Vikings during a 25-19, 25-12, 25-20 victory sweep.
“I’ve been coaching for a long time. The energy on the bus ride over with this group was amazing,” GA coach Christy Girard said. “The girls were so ready for this.”
The Gators showed no mercy while dismantling King in their own house.
GA had beaten King at home in last year’s regular season meeting. However, King topped the Gators, 3-1, in the 2018 FAA playoff semifinals on its way to a fifth consecutive league championship.
GA’s 2019 lineup — all returnees — got all the disappointment, aggravation and pain connected with that defeat out of their systems Thursday.
“We waited a long time for this,” GA tri-captain and junior setter Valeska Lasky said. “We focused on giving it our all today. We fought and kept fighting. We’re so happy with this result. We’re looking forward to having a great season.”
As the Gators (4-1) should. By playing the same six athletes the entire match, GA’s versatility was magnified.
Their multiple hitters collected kills from both the front row and back row. Lasky (21 assists) sets were welcome in all directions. GA had more power on their hits and collected more blocks than King as well.
“We have a very diverse offense. We have lots of options to choose from. And our timing was so good,” GA coach Girard said. “We also dominated with our serving. Our serves kept King out of their offensive system a lot.”
Nicole Salantay had 25 digs while Ruby Bienen finished with 18 digs for King (4-1). But GA was relentless in all three games.
In Game 1, King led 16-9 when GA responded with a 13-1 surge with Lasky serving to take the early lead at 25-19.
In Game 2, GA had runs of 6-0 and 10-1 to build a 21-9 cushion. The Gators closed it out at 25-12.
In Game 3, at 20-18 GA extended to 23-18 before starting the celebration at 25-20. The King fans quietly filed out.
“One difference was our lack of mental toughness. We’d lose some points and our disappointment was contagious,” said King senior co-captain Ruby Bienen. “We graduated many starters from last year. We’re still adjusting to our new roles. It’s early enough where we have time to improve. GA is a great team with great skills. But we will see them again (in the 2019 FAA playoffs).”
The last time King lost at home was on September 26, 2013 to Greenwich Academy.
“That’s two home win streaks that GA has snapped on us,” King’s veteran coach Tung Tran said. “We’re young. There’s a lot to grow from. We have to get our chemistry working better. We need more trust on the floor. Our offense was so one-dimensional. Words from me are one thing. This was an experience and a feeling the group needed to truly understand.”
GREENWICH ACADEMY 3, KING 0
GREENWICH ACADEMY 25 25 25—3
KING 19 12 20—0
Records: Greenwich Academy 4-1, King 4-1.
Highlights: GA—Evelyn Girard 12 kills, 6 digs; Alexandra Trofort 6 kills, 5 aces, 4 digs; Valeska Lasky 21 assists, 3 aces; Megan Belcastro 5 aces; Whitney Wise 2 blocks, 3 aces. K—Nicole Salantay 7 kills, 25 digs, 6 service points; Ruby Bienen 7 kills, 18 digs; Norah Shattan 3 kills, 8 assists, 2 blocks.