TERRYVILLE >> Undefeated Northwestern girls volleyball beat Terryville 3-1 (26-24, 23-25, 25-20, 25-23) after flirting with a fall into a perfect trap game.
The 8-0 Highlanders had trouble getting excited about a match at 1-6 Terryville after beating the Kangaroos easily at Northwestern just a few weeks ago.
“We were flat,” said junior hitter Molly Porch.
“This is by far the worst we’ve ever played,” said Coach Jon Hurlock.
The Highlander malaise fit perfectly into huge Kangaroo improvement under new coach Bellen Michelis, a 15-year volleyball veteran who served as an assistant coach at Boston College analyzing player errors.
“We’ve definitely improved,” said junior hitter Martina Trovato. “Coach B has brought a lot of discipline.”
“And a lot of conditioning,” said senior libero Kaitylyn Bednzaz, fresh from running laps around the gym with the rest of the team for every serve they missed.
The shock to Northwestern started right away.
The Kangaroos grabbed the lead with the first point in Game One and rode it to a 19-13 advantage.
Highlanders Clarke (16 kills) and Porch (8 kills), used to powering their way through matches with one kill after another, saw many of their biggest hits bounce up in the air, with one amazing dig after another from Bednaz (19 digs), McKenzie Huria (15 digs) and the other Kangaroos.
Trovato (5 kills) provided just enough power of her own to keep the Highlanders off balance.
“We’re good at regrouping,” said Clarke, leading the way back with three straight kills.
Even so, Terryville led 24-22, one point away from a game one upset.
Four straight Kangaroo errors gave the game back.
That wasn’t happening in Game Two.
This time, Terryville came back from a 23-19 deficit for the upset, led by a pair of aces by Trovato and a kill by Alyssa Prozzo (7 kills).
The fight raged through the final two games, just as close.
The Highlanders pulled away from a 20-19 Game Three margin with an ace by Morgan Twombly (6 aces) and a final kill by Clarke.
Northwestern led just 22-21 in Game Four. Clarke stepped up again for a pair of kills to bring the Highlanders home.
“We usually spread the offense more,” said Hurlock. “We’re looking to increase it with consistent passing plays where, in a game like this when everything is coming back, we change the way we’re attacking them.”
Northwestern hosts 5-4 Holy Cross from the NVL Thursday.
Terryville visits the SCC’s 7-1 Cheshire Monday.
Northwestern 3, Terryville 1
(26-24, 23-25, 25-20, 25-23)
At Terryville High School
Highlights: NW – Molly Clarke 16 kills, 6 digs, 2 aces; Molly Porch 8 kills, 4 digs, 6 aces; Morgan Twombly 10 digs, 6 aces. T – Kaitlyn Bednaz 19 digs, 3 aces; Alycia Calabrese 12 assists, 8 digs, 2 kills, 1 block, 1 ace; McKenzie Huria 15 digs, 1 assist, 1 ace; Martina Trovato 5 kills, 3 aces, 2 blocks, 1 assist; Victoria Barbour 1 ace, 3 kills, 6 digs; Alyssa Prozzo 3 aces, 7 kills, 8 digs, 2 assists.
Records: Northwestern 8-0; Terryville 1-6.