— Tom Nanos (@NanosPhoto) November 18, 2018
EAST HAVEN — To say Lyman Memorial got off to a slow start would be an understatement.
The Bulldogs looked as if the moment may be too big for them as defending Class S champion Coventry dismantled Lyman in the first set 25-15. They trailed most of the second as well, falling behind 20-14 at one point.
Lyman, the No. 15 seed, didn’t give up, though, and rallied for a 25-22 win which tied the match at 1-1 and the Bulldogs captured the next two games, the latter in dramatic fashion, on their way to a 3-1 victory over No. 4 Coventry in the CIAC Girls Volleyball Class S state championship on Saturday night at East Haven High.
“That game (the second) was incredibly important,” Lyman Memorial head coach Amanda Nappi said. “In the first set we were plagued with jitters. You could tell how nervous we were so for us to come in and take that second set, it was important to establish ourselves and feel confident that we could compete with that team the rest of the match.”
Lyman had an early lead in the third before the Patriots came back and took a 22-20 lead following a kill by Brooke Dutton. A block by Hannah Rhoades and Maddison Attardi tied the score at 22-22 and thanks to the serving of Katina Nanos and a key kill by Attardi the Bulldogs prevailed 25-22.
That's a wrap from East Haven as Lyman Memorial closes the day with a thrilling four-set win to capture the Class S girls volleyball title. #ctvb
Don't worry, there are 11 more championship contests tomorrow.
Championship HQ has all the info you need: https://t.co/vUa0QspwHj pic.twitter.com/Z6d8RrR2O1
— CIAC Sports (@ciacsports) November 18, 2018
“I thought our energy was good and they showed up to compete,” Coventry head coach Ryan Giberson said of his players. “We just couldn’t stem the runs. The other team made a couple more plays and I thought it was a good game.”
In the fourth, Coventry came out strong and was up 21-13 at one point of the strength of the serving of Hannah LeVasseur. The serving of Anna Matthewson and Indigo Hevner helped Lyman close the gap to 22-20.
Hevner, a junior setter, was named MVP for her efforts and finished with 33 assists and just about every one of her assists was crucial.
“We were getting the jitters out, there was a ton of people here and it was really stressful but after we got in our groove we pushed on from there,” Hevner said. “I’m extremely proud of Kaitlyn Mackewicz because she went on a long service run that got us there.”
A kill by Julia Hassett put the Patriots within a point of winning at 24-21. The Bulldogs got a point back at 24-22 to set the stage for Mackewicz, who recorded the next four service points with two aces and Helen Megson delivered the game-winning and match-clinching kill to set off Lyman Memorial’s celebration.
“It comes down to dedication and the work I put in over the summers,” said Mackewicz, who ended up with seven aces. “My team really pushed me to do my best and I couldn’t do it without them.”
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Indigo Hevner, Lyman Memorial
The junior setter was instrumental in the Class S state championship match for the Bulldogs with 33 assists in the 3-1 win over Coventry.
Kaitlyn Mackewicz, Lyman Memorial
The senior hitter made her impact on the service stripe with 7 aces in Lyman Memorial’s 3-1 victory against Coventry in the Class S girls volleyball state championship.
“At the end of that set (the second), we really brought ourselves back and we gained the momentum we needed to win the next three sets,” Hevner said.
“I’m incredibly proud of Indigo, especially since she was out for eight games (due to a concussion),” Nappi said. “For her to get a chance to come back on the court and lead our team to a state championship is a great reward for all of her hard work she puts into the sport.”
“She’s very selfless and she would do anything for her team,” Nappi said of Mackewicz. “I’m proud that was able to shine like she did tonight.”
“It was a little bit of nerves and a little bit of fundamental breakdowns that cost us,” Giberson said.
“This one of the most selfless teams I’ve ever coached,” Nappi said.
Lyman Memorial went 8-0 in the postseason to claim the ECC Division 2 title and the Class S state championship.
Even though the same two teams met last year in the title tilt, both were hit hard by graduation and featured a new cast, according to the coaches.
Coventry defeated Lyman Memorial in the state championship in 2015 and 2017 and now has an 11-2 mark in the state finals. Lyman is 2-3 in the finals and last won the Class S crown in 2016 (3-0 over Hale Ray).
LYMAN MEMORIAL 3, COVENTRY 1
LYMAN MEMORIAL 15 25 25 26 —3
COVENTRY 25 22 22 24 —1
Records: Lyman Memorial 18-8, Coventry 22-6. Highlights: LM—Indigo Hevner (33 assists), Maddison Attardi (14 kills), Helen Megson (14k), Kaitlyn Mackewicz (7 aces), Anna Matthewson (20 digs); C—Jacqueline Bates (13 kills, 13 digs, 2 aces), Julia Hassett (10k, 5d), Hannah LeVasseur (27 assists, 6 aces, 12d, 1 block), Brooke Dutton (4k, 1 ace, 14d, 1bl), Bridget Jordan (16d, 1 ace).