TORRINGTON >> Torrington’s undefeated girls volleyball team tuned up for a mega-match at undefeated Seymour Friday with a 3-0 (25-9, 25-14, 25-17) sweep of St. Paul Catholic Tuesday night at Torrington High School.
“We’re on a mission,” said senior Carissa Carbone.
The Red Raiders lost to just two teams last year — Woodland and Seymour. Bringing all but one player back from that team, Torrington has now swept all but Naugatuck (coming back from an 0-2 deficit last Thursday) in their first five games, including Woodland.
Seymour went undefeated in the regular season a year ago before making it to the Class S Semifinals. They, too, bring their top players back, sweeping all five of their opponents so far this year.
Far from looking past 1-3 St. Paul Tuesday, the Raiders used it as mental as well as physical preparation for Friday.
“We did a lot of things well,” said Coach Christine Gamari. “We needed to assert our dominance in multiple positions. When one group of big hitters is in the back row, the next group has to be ready to step in.”
In the first two games, the Raiders executed that point to a tee. Each game stayed even early. Then, each time, one of Torrington’s biggest hitters went to the service line and stayed there while the rest of the Raiders rolled up the game in front of her.
In the first game, senior middle hitter Jolie Fox (5 kills, 5 aces, 3 blocks) went to the line with a 7-5 Torrington lead. When St. Paul’s Annie Sullivan finally ended the run with a kill, the score was 19-6, the Raiders firmly in charge.
Game two was tied 6-6 when Carbone (6 kills, 7 digs, 2 aces) took over the serve, 19-7 when she left.
Junior Lauren Gaghan, a high jumper on Torrington’s track team, had seven kills. Senior Jayleen Colon had three kills of her own while setting for 24 assists.
“We can’t figure out why (Gaghan) is so hard to defend, but we’ll take it,” laughed Gamari. “She was huge at Naugy.”
The Falcons found their legs in the third game sprinkled with Torrington substitutions, climbing back from a 20-9 deficit all the way to 24-17 before the Raiders put it away.
Sophia Penisse had six kills and an ace for the match. Bianca DiLernia had nine assists.
“It wasn’t the best game we had,” said St. Paul coach Ashley Blumenthal. “The errors we had in practice yesterday, we repeated today. If we could have played the whole match like we did in the third game, things might have been different.”
Torrington’s Carbone was still focused on the mission.
“They let us see a lot of different stuff, which is what we’ll get from Seymour,” she said.
While the Raiders take on the Wildcats Friday, the Falcons have another big challenge Friday at 4-1 Kennedy.
Torrington 3, St. Paul Catholic 0
(25-9, 25-14, 25-17)
At Torrington High School
Highlights: SP – Bianca DiLernia 9 assists; Sophia Penisse 6 kills, 1 ace; 7 digs. T – Carissa Carbone 6 kills, 7 digs, 2 aces; Lauren Gaghan 7 kills; Jolie Fox 5 kills, 5 aces, 3 blocks; Jayleen Colon 24 assists, 3 kills.
Records: St. Paul Catholic 1-3; Torrington 5-0.