BURLINGTON — Lewis Mills’ girls volleyball team emerged from a donnybrook regular season to outlast Berkshire League co-champion Nonnewaug 2-1 (25-19; 11-25; 25-21) in the league tournament final Friday night at Lewis Mills High School.
The league’s top four teams spent the season beating on each other and non-league opponents. Friday, the co-champions confirmed their status in a best-of-three final that played much like the regular season after beating Northwestern and Terryville in the semifinals.
Mills (17-4), the No. 2 seed overpowered No. 1 Nonnewaug (15-4) in the first game; The Chiefs turned the tables in the second. Both games featured long serving stints and unforced errors.
Then they got down to business in Game Three.
“We had a bunch of energy in the first game. Then we let it get to us in the second,” said Spartan Anna Szymanski (10 kills, 5 aces), who jump-served four aces in a row in Game One, finishing the string with a commanding 21-11 Mills lead.
“I think the first part of each set featured a lot of nerves,” Nonnewaug Coach Martin Malaspina said. “I think whoever had the first serve had the advantage.”
Mills’ Samantha Furst served nine points in a row early in Game One, digging the Chiefs into a 10-2 hole.
Nonnewaug’s Skylar Delp (19 assists, 6 aces) served the first four points in Game 2, then finished with five more, including three aces. This time, Lewis Mills was in the hole.
“We tied it all together in the last game,” Furst said.
The serving aces continued, but this time, the game featured long volleys, great digs and crashes at the net.
Furst signaled that with a block for the Spartans’ first lead at 3-2. Nonnewaug libero Victoria O’Bar found an open spot; Szymanski tipped a point over the Chiefs’ front line; Szymanski and Nonnewaug’s Kelli Haigh (11 kills, 8 digs) traded kills.
The co-champions split with each other in the regular season. Now they showed the kind of play that reached the top of the league together.
Caroline Kucia (5 kills, 3 blocks) gave Mills the lead at 6-5, then teamed with Szymanski for a block as the Spartans edged in front, but never far.
The final Spartan push came from an 18-17 lead with two blocks in a row and a Szymanski kill to 21-17, another kill by Haley Tharau (6 kills, 1 block 10 digs); a Kucia block and a final kill from Furst.
“Nonnewaug is a very good team,” Mills year Coach Monica Reed said. “We faded in the second game, but we settled in for the third.”
Next week, both teams have a chance to settle in at the Class M State Tournament.
No. 1 Nonnewaug 2,
No. 4 Terryville 0
No. 2 Lewis Mills 2,
No. 3 Northwestern 0
Lewis Mills25 25
No. 2 Lewis Mills 2,
No. 1 Nonnewaug 1
Lewis Mills25 11 25
Nonnewaug19 25 21
Highlights: LM — Anna Szymanski 10 kills, 5 aces; Haley Tharau 6 kill, 1 block, 10 digs; Caroline Kucia 5 kills, 3 blocks. N — Skylar Delp 19 assists, 6 aces, 1 kill, 5 digs; Kelli Haigh 11 kills, 8 digs.
Records: Lewis Mills 17-4; Nonnewaug 15-4.