EAST HAVEN — A sure sign of a champion is how it reacts when the going gets tough. In the last two weeks, and especially in the last three games of Saturday’s Class M girls volleyball final, Seymour’s exhibited these characteristics.
And that’s why the Wildcats are champions after defeating Weston 3-1 to win their second state title in three years.
“I wasn’t worried after we lost to Kennedy (in the NVL final earlier this month) because I knew we’d come out strong for states,” Seymour coach Cathy Federowicz said. “And then, true to form, we came out strong for the second set today.”
Seymour (24-1), the tournament’s top seed, led the first set 19-12 before No. 18 Weston (16-10), led by 6-foot-4 Katie Anderson, stormed back. The Trojans went on a 13-4 run to stun the Wildcats, who had lost all of nine sets all season.
A few moments after the second set started, however, Seymour led 9-0 before the Wildcats prevailed 25-14. After a 1-3 start to the third set, they never trailed again in winning the third (25-17) and fourth (25-12) sets. Led by setter and MVP Alyssa Cosciello, who had 41 assists, the Wildcats were on their way to the school’s second state crown.
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“This feels great because after losing (to Kennedy) we didn’t want to lose again,” Seymour hitter Faith Rousseau said. Rousseau (25 kills), along with Kolby Sirowich (12 kills) and freshman Mackenzie Sirowich (22 digs), managed to control net play against the taller Trojans. “We didn’t want to lose a final again.”
Another example of a championship trait is finding a way to win despite dealing with a clear mismatch not in your favor. That was the case against Weston’s Anderson, 6-2 Abigail Glasberg and the Trojans’ other strong hitter Eliza Maestri.
“Seymour can really get up and jump,” Weston coach Mackenzie Robens said after Weston’s bid for a first state title slipped away. “They’re very smart and found a way around our blocks.”
Anderson (12 kills, four blocks, two aces), who was dominant in Weston’s semifinal victory over Law, agreed.
“They knew how to hit around our blocks,” the junior Anderson said. “We needed to be more aggressive.”
In terms of statistics, it was a rare day when the taller Trojans were out-blocked and out-hit.
“We needed to hit around their blocks, that was our plan,” Federowicz said. “We knew how good their (tall players) were but we did what we had to do.”
Seymour learned, adjusted and survived. But first credit is due for Weston for its first set win.
“I’m proud of how we were resilient, coming back like that after (trailing 19-12),” Robens said. “But that’s what got us here, playing like that.”
Weston lost the first two games against Granby in the quarterfinals before Saturday’s turnaround.
“I think we lost our composure in the first set,” Federowicz said. “We let them start hitting and blocking.”
But once the loss of the first game set in, the Wildcats showed what they were made of.
Cathryn Ragaini added eight kills for Seymour.
Maestri had three kills and four blocks for Weston while Jordan Baisley had 16 digs, Grace Donnelly had 14 digs and Kelly Rosemann had 18 assists.