GREENWICH — A loss can often serve as inspiration for a team and the Greenwich Academy volleyball squad became extra-motivated after being edged by Sacred Heart Greenwich two weeks ago.
Since their defeat against the rival Tigers, the Gators have won four straight matches, the latest of which occurred Monday against FAA foe Greens Farms Academy.
Receiving contributions from all its players, Greenwich Academy continued its late-season surge, posting an impressive 3-0 victory against visiting Greens Farms Academy.
Sophomore Whitney Wise registered eight kills and four aces, while sophomore Alexandra Trofort recorded seven kills for the Gators, who upped their record to 8-3.
Also pacing Greenwich Academy’s 25-14, 25-17, 25-12 win were sophomore Evie Kay Girard (five kills), senior tri-captain Megan Belcastro (four kills) and senior tri-captain Valeska Lasky (five kills).
“After that loss to Sacred Heart we wanted to get back on our feet and focus on achieving our goals of getting to New Englands and FAAs,” said GA senior tri-captain Catherine Burns, who also helped key GA’s offense. “We have to be ranked in the top eight to make the New Englands and we are currently ranked ninth.”
Greenwich Academy entered Monday’s match fresh off a significant 3-1 Homecoming Day victory against Taft School on Saturday.
“We have been practicing a lot on our defense and that helped us a lot on Saturday,” said Lasky, who tallied nine assists Monday. “Today we went out there really focused and we were communicating well.”
Greens Farms Academy, coached by Paul Groves, has a record of 5-7.
“We have runs during our matches and we compete, but then we have moments when we check out,” Groves said. “Greenwich Academy is a good team. They are steady and aggressive offensively. We proved to ourselves that we can be aggressive with them, but we didn’t do it for 25 points.”
An ace by Annie Dizon gave the Dragons a 4-3 edge in the opening game, but that proved to be the visitors’ last lead of the first game. Three straight aces from Girard gave GA the lead for good at 7-4. A kill and a block by Wise, along with another Girard ace, put the home team on top, 11-4 in the first set.
“Recently, we have been really connecting well with Valeska and we’ve been able to put the ball away,” Wise said. “Our passes have been amazing from our serve receive and that’s helped us in practice. We have been focusing on hitting in practice and that’s shown in our game.”
GFA stayed close with GA for the first half of the second set, before the Gators pulled away. A kill by senior Ava Ewing gave the Dragons a 13-12 edge, before Girard knotted the score at 13-13 with a kill.
Wise’s kill gave Greenwich Academy the lead for good at 14-13 in the second game. Lasky’s effective serving closed out the second game.
GA never trailed in the third game, with Trofort, Girard, Lasky and Belcastro helping lead the team’s offense. Junior Samantha Freeman and senior Meg Nesi paced the Dragons.
“Today, we worked on getting that first ball on serve receive and make sure we passed in threes,” Girard said. “Our last game against Taft, we played pretty well, but realized there were a couple of things we could have fixed. We implemented those things today.”
PLAYERS OF THE MATCH
Wise was a threat, putting down kills whenever Greens Farms made a run.
“It’s feels really good when we are out there connecting,” Wise said. “We have been focusing on the basics and executing.”
Lasky, a setter, helped run the offense, setting up Girard, Wise, Trofort and Belcastro.
“Our team played well, they ran a fast offense and did a nice job on serve receive,” GA coach Christy Girard said. “They were really aggressive with serves and did a good job of placement. We also had a low amount of errors. Greens Farms had a really good defense, they picked up a lot of balls and did a great job with that. Our girls worked really hard on defense last week and we’re working hard to get strong to make it to the New England and FAA finals.”
Said Burns: “We’re doing really well and we’re all proud of the season we’re having. We’ve been also working on hitting lines and off the pass and transitioning — it’s working well for us.”