The Kennedy girls volleyball team celebrates after winning its first NVL tournament title Thursday night with a 3-2 win over Seymour. Kennedy overcame a 2-0 deficit.Kennedy senior hitter Hannah West.
WATERBURY — Trailing by two games to NVL powerhouse Seymour Thursday night, Kennedy senior Hannah West and her teammates realized it was time to come together.
“We realized we needed to do this for coach,” said West, who spent much of the night defending Seymour’s powerful frontline of hitters. “We were doing it for ourselves. We started to play as a team and not six individuals.”
Kennedy rallied from its deficit to pull off three straights win en route to its first Naugatuck Valley League tournament championship at Kennedy Gym. Kennedy won 23-25, 24-26, 25-21, 25-23, 17-15
Kennedy (20-3) trailed 20-18 in the third set, but the Eagles were resilient, battling back after a timeout to win seven of the next eight points. Seymour also led 20-19 in the fourth set and 12-9 in the fifth set.
“This means everything,” said Kennedy coach Michael Stango, in his 13th season. “We’ve been working for this for a long time. We were close in 2009 (when the Eagles were runner-up to Woodland.) It’s incredible. We just want to give it our best shot. To go through Woodland (in the semifinals) and Seymour … It’s unbelievable.”
Stango said he knew his team was tough and resilient after its first match of the season, a 3-1 loss to Seymour. The Eagles were down 2-0 and came back to win a game.
He said he told his he wanted them to win one game Thursday, it didn’t matter when. After they won a game, then they would work to win a second game, then a third.
“I am really overwhelmed,” said West, who had 24 kills and two blocks and was named the NVL tournament Most Outstanding Player. “This is more than what could have imagined this team was capable of accomplishing. It took everything we had. This is the best we’ve ever played.”
“Hannah is more of a point scorer than a hitter,” Stango said.
— GameTimeCT (@GameTimeCT) November 2, 2018
Senior Arianna Padilla had 31 digs, senior Marin Delaney 40 assists and sophomore Vivian Bunker 13 kills and three blocks for Kennedy, which will compete in the CIAC Class L tournament.
Seymour junior outside hitter Faith Rousseau had 28 kills. Alyssa Cosciello had 42 assists and Katherine Kucsera added 26 digs for the Wildcats (20-1).
“I told our kids they had to weather the storm,” Stango said. “And stay with it and grind through it, especially with their girl Faith (Rousseau) hitting it the way she does.
“Hannah (West) leads our team from offense, Arianna (Padilla) leads it from defense and Marin (Delaney), our setter, she keeps it all together,” Stango said. “Those three captains are just
phenomenal. They bring toughness. The three of them have kept this whole team together all year.”