TORRINGTON >> In a game of nerves and mistakes on both sides, Naugatuck got it together for the last two sets of a 3-2 (16-25, 25-23, 16-25, 28-26, 15-9) girls volleyball win at Torrington High School Monday night.
“We came out nervous but we kept on trying,” said Greyhound junior Nicole Healy, who rocked 12 service points and 5 aces on a day when service-line disasters were commonplace.
“It looked like neither of us wanted to win Game 4,” said Naugatuck coach Kevin Wesche. “We kept trading bad serves.”
“You aren’t going to win a game when you miss 15 serves,” said Torrington coach Christine Gamari. “We made mistakes at the most inopportune times.”
Both teams are young. Naugatuck (3-1) has a new front line after a 16-4 season last year. Torrington, coming off a 17-3 success, starts two sophomores and plays a freshman on defense.
Still, the yips weren’t reserved for the young Monday.
Naugatuck handed Torrington six points on unforced errors on the Raiders’ way to a 12-3 lead in Game 1.
Then Torrington started Naugy’s comeback to 15-12 with 3 errors in the Greyhounds’ next six points.
In a game with as many fine plays as mistakes, the key was not stopping one’s own momentum.
It’s why both coaches emphasized the importance of serving.
Leading 13-6, Torrington regained the serve, only to serve it long, while Naugatuck’s Healy served two aces on the way to 13-11.
At 15-12, the same thing happened to the Greyhounds. Naugy reclaimed the serve only to pump it into the net.
Jayleen Colon, Torrington’s sophomore setter (30 assists) and most reliable server for much of the night, pitched one of her two aces to extend the lead to 18-12.
Sophomore C.C. Carbone found her stride for three points to 22-16. Then Caitlyn Cornish served out with an ace, a Naugy mistake and one more shot to an empty spot by Carbone.
The nerves were up and down in Game 2 as Naugatuck grabbed a slim lead early and held on through a late-game duel that helped decide the match.
If it was a game of nerves, the Greyhounds discovered they could win.
Naugatuck led 24-21 after Naugy sophomore Abby Jang found an empty spot in Torrington’s court.
The Red Raiders threatened to come back all the way with a Naugatuck error and a Carbone kill on the best volley of the night until then.
At 24-23, Naugatuck, Coach Wesche called time out.
Back on the floor, a Torrington shot went long for the final point.
Torrington won game three 25-16 when its skills outshone either team’s mistakes.
Senior Samantha Zordan (14 kills, 5 digs) had three big kills on the way to an 8-5 lead. Colon hit a spot after a great Torrington dig.
Senior Miah Giarnese (9 kills, 5 digs, 6 aces) kicked in with a couple of kills in the climb to 18-9.
Junior Caitlyn Cornish loomed large for a block, then served an ace for the final point.
Despite the serving lapses – or partly because of them – Game 4 was a struggle all the way: nice play followed by mistake.
Naugatuck led 23-19, then held the ball. Torrington’s Zordan had a huge kill followed by a pair of aces by Giarnese, 23-23. Healy had a kill, then Naugatuck hit wide.
Three more Greyhound mistakes gave Torrington the lead 26-25.
Then Naugatuck found it again.
Healy powered a kill through a block. Sophomore Taylor Hyde put away a kill. Healy served an ace for the win, 28-26 Naugatuck.
In Game 5, Torrington played catch-up through 8-8 on a Giarnese kill, then gave back the struggle with a bad serve followed by another one at 11-9 Naugatuck.
The last four Greyhound points came on Torrington mistakes.
“At one point, I thought they were going to take it,” said Healy.
“Give Naugatuck credit; they bounced back,” said Coach Gamari.
Naugatuck 3, Torrington 2
(16-25, 25-23, 16-25, 28-26, 15-9)
At Torrington High School
Highlights: N—Julia Pelliccia 7 kills; Abby Jang 7 kills; Taylor Hyde 7 kills; Nicole Healy 12 service points, 5 aces. T—Samantha Zordan 14 kills, 5 digs; Miah Giarnese 9 kills, 5 digs, 6 aces; Jayleen Colon 30 assists, 5 digs, 2 aces.
Records: Naugatuck 3-1; Torrington 1-2.