MONROE — Masuk girls’ volleyball is back on track after its 3-1 victory over Newtown Wednesday night in Monroe.
Coming into the match, Masuk boasted a 9-3 record with two of its losses coming consecutively last week to Weston and Westhill.
This week however, the team seems to have found its groove, sweeping Bunnell in straight sets before earning its 10th win Wednesday.
“We are coming off a really bad run,” Masuk coach Carol Ortiz said. “We had two loses in a row and we were really waiting for a rivalry game and this was the game. Not only are we honoring breast cancer awareness month and the people in the stands who are survivors, but we needed this Newtown game to spark our energy up and guide us through the rest of the season.”
Masuk was led by setter Ana Castro-Rodriguez, who racked up 29 assists with three aces and two kills.
“(Castro-Rodriguez) is my leader on the court. She keeps the team calm when she needs to and hypes them up when we need the energy to score the point,” Ortiz said.
Olivia Mehrer and Josie Maguire were also key contributors to their team’s victory as Mehrer compiled 11 kills and an ace while Maguire finished with nine kills, three aces and four digs.
In the first set, Newtown matched Masuk point for point before pulling away at the end to claim it 25-20.
Masuk came out significantly stronger in the second set, turning a 8-6 lead into a 25-10 win on a dominating 17-4 run that swung the momentum in its favor.
Masuk would continue to ride that momentum, taking an early 18-6 lead in set three.
Newtown did its best to battle back, reducing the deficit to 22-19, but the rally was squashed as the Panthers locked it down 25-21 for a 2-1 set lead.
“This is the match we needed,” Ortiz said. “Right now this is the energy we had at the beginning of the season that got us that run we were on. Now that we are out of that slump I expect us to just keep going.”
Newtown rallied again in the fourth set, hopeful to force a fifth by taking a 23-20 lead but Masuk had other plans.
The Panthers took the next three points to knot it up. The two teams continued to trade points to a 27-27 score before Masuk closed the book, taking the next two points behind the serve of Ortiz for the 3-1 triumph.
“This year I believe we are contenders for the SWC championship,” Ortiz said. “We have teams like Newtown and Immaculate who are right there with us that for the seeding, we want the right placement for states and the SWC tournament as well.
“We faced Weston, we know we can beat them even though we lost to them, it was such a great match. We faced Westhill and were able to keep up with them and we faced Barlow and went 1-1 so who’s to say that we can’t get the whole thing at the end.”