TORRINGTON >> No. 3 seed Torrington swept No. 6 Kennedy 3-0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-21) in the NVL Girls Volleyball Tournament opening round at Torrington High School Saturday afternoon.
The Red Raiders (15-4, 15-3 NVL) beat Kennedy handily in the regular season, but the Eagles (13-8) contested every game Saturday.
“We put in a good effort,” said Kennedy coach Mike Stango.
Torrington’s Christine Gamari was happy with the win, but gave the Raiders no style points.
“Our execution could have been better,” she said. “We had too many unforced errors.”
Part of that was shaking off the rust. Torrington’s last match before Saturday was a 3-0 win against Watertown.
“We also had a few jitters in our first post-season game,” said Gamari.
None of that looked like a factor early in Game One. Senior captain Sam Zordan (10 kills, 9 digs) was on her game. The Eagles weren’t, as Miah Giarnese and Carly Ruzbasan served the Raiders to a 7-2 lead.
Kennedy found its game with the help of Torrington errors, all the way back to 12-11 on a kill by Kennedy’s Zuanny Araujo.
The Raiders always had the extra gear.
C.C. Carbone, Ruzbasan, Caitlyn Cornish and Zordan powered Torrington to a 23-16 lead.
Cornish settled it with a final kill.
Game Two was a replay.
Torrington got up to 8-2 behind four aces from Ruzbasan (10 kills, 11 digs, 6 aces). Kennedy came back to tie it 11-11 behind Torrington errors. The Raiders focused and pulled away.
Down 2-0, the Eagles might have given up. Instead, they hammered out their best game.
This time, led by Kerri Mastrantuono (16 digs), Shelly Evia (7 kills, 4 blocks) and Joyce Benton (2 kills, 4 blocks), they weren’t giving up a big lead.
In fact, the Eagles led 8-6 after an ace from Samantha DeCena.
A kill by Evia had them trailing by one, 21-20, late in the game.
The Raiders have been poised all year. This was no exception.
Ruzbasan served to 24-20. With Jayleen Colon’s 25th assist of the game, Carbone rammed a kill through an Eagle block for the final point.
The rust is off. Torrington takes on No. 2 Woodland at Wilby Tuesday night. The Hawks beat Torrington twice, 3-2 each time, in the regular season.
NVL Tournament Quarterfinal
No. 3 Torrington 3, No. 6 Kennedy 0
(25-18, 25-15, 25-21)
Highlights: K – Kerri Mastrantuono 16 digs; Shelly Evia 7 kills, 4 blocks; Joyce Benton 2 kills, 4 blocks. T – Samantha Zordan 10 kills, 9 digs; Carly Ruzbasan 10 kills, 11 digs, 6 aces; Jayleen Colon 25 assists, 3 kills, 4 digs.
Records: Kennedy 13-8; Torrington 15-4