EAST HAVEN – Something had to change and quick.
The East Haven girls volleyball team dropped the first two games of its match Monday night against Sacred Heart Academy and things weren’t looking very good.
But East Haven coach Craig Brown made some changes in how the Yellowjackets attacked the Sacred Heart defense in the third game and it turned things totally around as East Haven came from behind for a 3-2 SCC victory (24-26, 17-25, 25-13, 27-25, 15-12).
“We did a lot of angle hitting in the first two games, but they blocked us,” Brown said. “We put in a couple tips in, went to the corners and had some back row hits to scatter their defense.”
Defensively, East Haven shifted its personnel around and Kyle Schlottman, Julia SanGiovanni and Summer Onorato all met the challenge.
“They’ve been playing up on varsity since they were freshmen and they don’t know what it’s like to lose. They want to be back in states and be pushing for a title.”
After dropping the first two games, East Haven dominated the third game, never trailing.
Sacred Heart Academy seemed to get control back in the fourth games, taking leads of 18-12 and 20-15. But with SanGiovanni serving, the Yellowjackets scored six straight points to grab a 22-20 lead.
The Sharks came back to tie it at 24-24 and 25-25, but Miranda’s serve fell in between Chrissy Chow and Ryan Koons to give the Yellowjackets the fourth game and a 2-2 tie in the match.
Sacred Heart Academy never led in the fifth game and the hosts took control midway through the deciding game, grabbing a 12-7 edge.
Sacred Heart Academy closed it to 13-12 when the Yellowjackets hit the ball four times on its side of the net. Two points later, Miranda hit a flip shot that landed on the floor on the middle of the Sharks’ defense and ended the match.
“They picked apart my defense,” Sacred Heart Academy coach Mia Malafronte said. “A lot of them got rattled and a good coach will pick them apart.”
It was a heartbreaking loss for Sacred Heart Academy, which is winless in three starts and has dropped all three matches in five games.
“I’m trying to figure out what’s going through their minds since it’s the third match in a row where we won the first game,” Malafronte said. “I thought it would be easier for them to carry the momentum after winning the first two game, but it’s an inexperienced and young team that doesn’t know how to win, but has to learn how to win.”
For East Haven, Schlottman had 15 kills and 6 digs, Onorato had 15 digs and 10 kills, Samantha Miranda had 3 aces and 3 digs and Amber Ciscone had 14 digs.
Statistically for Sacred Heart Academy, Chrissy Chow had 26 digs and was 16-of-17 serving with 3 aces, while Claudia Capozzo had 20 kills, 3 blocks and 6 digs and Anna Claire Luciani collected 9 kills, 5 blocks and was 11-of-11 serving.