DEEP RIVER >> The Valley Regional girls volleyball team is headed to the Final Four.
The fourth-seeded Warriors advanced to the Shoreline Conference tournament semifinals with a 3-0 win over No. 5 Coginchaug Tuesday night at Deep River.
It was Valley’s third win against the Blue Devils this season.
“I think it’s hard to beat a team three times in a row,” Valley Regional coach Kathy Scott said. “We just played them on our Senior Night so to win in three games was good for our girls.”
Senior setter Leah Sopneski paced the Warriors to the 25-18, 25-22, and 25-19 sweep with 24 assists and five digs.
“Sopneski is an outstanding setter,” Scott said. “She can do everything well. She’s our foundation and does a nice job running the court. And Carly Zuppe, our libero, did a really outstanding job tonight. She’s done a lot of good things for us all year long. She hits from the back row and really sparked our team.”
Zuppe finished with nine digs and two kills, while freshman Jessica Paholski, who gave the Warriors the lead in the first set with eight straight service points, had four aces.
The Blue Devils (10-10) were led by senior Michelle Hargreaves, who had six kills and three aces, and junior Cailtyn Sibiskie, who had nine assists.
Coginchaug, however, was without senior outside hitter Megan Quinley, who injured her ankle against the Warriors last Friday night.
“Having Megan out really put us back,” Coginchaug coach Edwin Castano said. “We had to replace her with two other players, one to play the front row and the other in the back, and we tried to adjust.”
Coginchaug almost took the second set, forging a 21-19 lead behind the play of middle hitter Alana Beckert and blocking from Sibiskie and senior Katie Pareti.
But Valley outscored the Blue Devils, 6-1, down the stretch.
“We were blocking, passing the ball and serving really well,” Castano said. “It was just that (Valley) started hitting where there were open spaces. Valley’s a real smart team.”
Warriors junior Sadie Swap had a game-high nine kills. Junior Michaela Pace had five kills, while sophomore Emily McLaughlin added seven kills, two blocks and six digs for Valley.
“(Coginchaug’s) a really scrappy team so we just had to keep swinging at them,” Scott added. “Our kills were pretty spread out. Again, that’s Leah (Sopneski) setting a nice attack all the way around.”
Valley (15-6) will meet top-seeded Haddam-Killingworth (19-1) in the semifinals on Thursday, Oct. 30 at Higganum.
“H-K is just really talented,” Scott said. “It’s going to be a tough match. But the players are all friends so it’s usually a good match and a fun one for us.”
Hale-Ray, the No. 3 seed, also won their quarterfinal round game Tuesday night as the Noises swept No. 6 East Hampton, 25-13, 25-18, and 25-22 at Moodus.
Jordan Ziobron had 13 kills and nine digs, Andrea Wordell had 13 kills and two blocks, while Mary Pease 30 assists for Hale-Ray.
The Bellringers (9-10) were led by Sarah Massie, who had 10 digs and seven kills, and Grace Fales, who had 12 digs and four aces.
Hale Ray (16-5) will play at No. 2 Morgan (19-1) in the semifinals on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.