HIGGANUM >> The top two teams in the Shoreline Conference put on a volleyball power display Monday evening at the Haddam-Killingworth Fieldhouse.
Morgan hasn’t lost a conference match since 2007, but in that stretch H-K has played some tough sets against the Huskies, including two of three in Monday’s 25-20, 25-9 and 25-23 defeat.
The Huskies (12-0) are the class of Shoreline volleyball, but the Cougars are not far behind.
“It’s a good conference this year, much stronger, and young too,” said H-K coach Richard Langer.
The first set showed how tough the top tier is.
Neither team could get any separation. Through 20 points played, the score was tied at 10. The score remained tied at 15 before H-K scored three straight, but Morgan fought back winning the next seven of eight points to take a 22-18 lead before finally winning the first game.
Huskies senior setter Lily Dawson (41 assists) set the tone early, feeding junior Katie Anderson (13 kills) on the left side.
“We go to our outsides, [Anderson] and [junior Jen Dawson], we go to them a lot,” said Morgan coach Joe Grippo. “We might overuse them sometimes.”
Errors got the best of the Cougars in the second set, missing two of their first four serves; yet the game still began tight. The score was tied 4-4 before the third bad serve of the set started a 9-0 Morgan run that H-K couldn’t stop.
“We had good offense right in the beginning and then the next two missed serves just put them a number ahead of us,” said Langer.
H-K scored four straight, with two straight kills coming from junior Lauren Brough (10 kills, three aces) before Morgan put the second set away for good by scoring 12 of the final 13 points.
Morgan has only lost one set in conference play this year and that was to Coginchaug a week ago. H-K made a run at doubling that number, but fell short.
The Cougars held the lead for one point in the third set, when they were up 14-13 after two straight kills by junior Jessica Kasper.
Once again, the errors were haunting the home team. Four of the next five Morgan points were off H-K errors giving the Huskies a 19-15 lead, but it wasn’t over yet. The next three all went H-K’s way and the home crowd got louder with every point, only to become silent during the serve.
Jen Dawson gave Morgan two straight kills, followed by two H-K errors and it was match point. H-K’s Kayla Gesick recorded a kill which was followed by an Olivia Parmelee (seven kills, 21 digs) serve that tipped off the top of the net and fell to the floor on the Morgan side. No magical comeback this time as the Huskies won the third set 25-23.
“I think our league is very good this year, not just the two of us, but Coginchaug, East Hampton, Valley, and Hale Ray are all capable of winning,” said Grippo.