STAMFORD — It was the final step in a long journey to a well-deserved coronation.
The King School girls volleyball team earned its fourth consecutive New England Prep School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Class C Volleyball title Sunday by topping Greens Farms Academy 25-16, 25-20, 25-23 before a capacity crowd at the Vikings’ home gym.
“This season has been so special. We graduated so many important seniors from last year,” King senior tri-captain Ava Robinowitz said. “With all the new faces we needed time to come together and build our own chemistry. With hard work we played for each other. We did this for ourselves. And today, we got the result we wanted.”
Indeed. For King, that is seven NEPSAC crowns since 2008 to go along with five straight Fairchester Athletic Association (FAA) Tournament championship plaques in the school’s trophy case.
And if you’re wondering that is 303 victories in 20 years for King volleyball coach Tung Tran.
“It is exciting to have all those banners on the gym walls,” King senior tri-captain Christine Nelli said. “To be part of such a winning program is special. The memories of the last four years will last forever in my heart.”
As the No. 1 seed in Class C, King (19-2 overall) was able to fashion this 2018 title by winning three home games.
As the No. 3 seed, Greens Farms Academy (16-6 overall) had to endure a 330-mile round trip bus ride to defeat No. 2 seed Winchendon (Mass) in five games in Saturday’s semifinals.
“We gave it everything we had today. But we were tired. The support of our fans Sunday woke us up,” Greens Farms Academy senior co-captain and middle hitter Kirwan Carey said. “We had such a great season. I love our team with all my heart. They will carry success forward next season.
“King is such a well-rounded team,” added Carey, who will play for 2018 NCAA Division III women’s college volleyball champion Emory University next fall. “The versatility of their players make them so hard to deal with.”
King and GFA had split two meetings in the regular season.
“It was a wonderful season. A year where we reached the FAA Tournament semifinals and the NEPSAC final despite losing our outside hitter Elena Mota (to injury) in mid-season,” GFA’s veteran coach Paul Groves said. “We had girls step up in adversity and it will help us continue this success next season.”
On Sunday, King’s depth of contributors were able to overcome Carey’s 15 kills and setter Meg Nesi’s 20 assists.
In Game 1, King led 12-9 and scored six straight points with Ruby Bienen (14 service points, 20 digs) serving for an 18-9 edge. The Vikings won 25-20.
In Game 2, each side fashioned 7-1 surges that left King ahead 15-12. The Vikings scored the final three points for a 25-20 victory and a 2-0 match edge.
Game 3 was tied 19-19. With Bienen serving two aces, King scored four points for a 23-19 lead that became a 25-23 exclamation point to the delight of their fans in the rocking gym.
“As a senior, it’s been a dream come true (four FAA, four NEPSAC titles),” King tri-captain Anne Michalski said. “The key is we are all best friends. Not just a high school sports team. We are a sisterhood I will never forget. Winning this in our gym, in our house, before our fans, feeding off their energy is special. It speaks to the culture of King School.”
NEPSAC CLASS C CHAMPIONSHIP
KING 3, GFA 0
GREENS FARMS 16 20 23—0
KING 25 25 25—3
Records: King 19-2 overall; Greens Farms Academy 16-6 overall.
Highlights: GFA—Kirwan Carey 15 kills. Meg Nesi 20 assists. Kris Modzelewski 6 kills. Alex Nason 10 digs. K—Ava Robinowitz 8 kills, 14 assists, 9 blocks, 6 digs. Catherine King 17 assists. Christine Nelli 8 kills, 16 digs. Ruby Bienen 4 kills, 20 digs, 14 service points. Anne Michalski 25 digs, 3 kills, 7 service points. Nicole Salantay 7 kills, 7 service points, 19 digs. Norah Shattan 2 kills, 2 blocks, 2 digs.