BERLIN >> After eight long years that featured three heartbreaking Class S championship game losses, Morgan can celebrate again.
Junior Jen Dawson had a team-high 25 kills and added 13 digs and the top-ranked Huskies topped No. 3 Lyman Memorial 3-0 (25-18, 25-12, 25-14) on Friday at Berlin High to capture their first state title since 2005.
“It felt like it was too long ago when we won our last one,” Morgan coach Joe Grippo said.
The Huskies put the finishing touches on a perfect 26-0 season that featured 18 regular-season sweeps, their 22nd consecutive Shoreline Conference title and a state tournament semifinal win over rival Coventry, ending the Patriots’ dynasty of seven straight state titles.
Senior Lily Dawson said this was a season to remember.
“It was such a perfect season,” she said. “I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Morgan’s perfection showed as they committed no service errors and led for most of the match. Lily Dawson contributed 40 assists and three digs and sophomore Sami Ashton added 32 digs of her own for the Class S champs.
The Huskies started fast in the first game, jumping out to a 10-2 lead. The Bulldogs rallied, cutting the lead to four as Morgan held on to a 16-12 lead in Game 1. The Huskies, as they would do all night, turned it on and held off the Bulldogs in the first game.
Morgan began to pull away in the second game and jumped out to a 21-9 lead en route to a commanding 2-0 advantage. Jen Dawson, the tournament most valuable player, said it was all about defense.
“We really try to not let the ball hit the floor as much as we can,” Dawson said. “It’s really our defense that starts and ends it.”
Game 3 was all Morgan from the onset, as it found holes in the front line of the Bulldogs’ defense, scoring most of its Game 3 points right in front of the net.
When the Huskies finally wrapped up the match, the players rushed the court to celebrate a title eight years in the making. Then Lily Dawson, who played on the 2010 team that lost in the final to Coventry, was raised on her teammates’ shoulders as she held up the championship plaque. Grippo said this team was a special group.
“I haven’t even had to yell in practice,” Grippo said with a smile. “Maybe once all year. My setter takes care of it for me. I’ve been more mellow since I’ve been retired.”