EAST HAVEN >> No. 3 Seymour shocked No. 1 Torrington with a 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-21) sweep for the CIAC Class M volleyball championship Saturday morning at East Haven High School.
Seymour’s Faith Thurmond (19 kills), the championship’s MVP, set the Wildcat tone with three kills in the first five points on the way to a 4-1 Seymour lead that went away briefly in Game One before the Wildcats took over at 21-20, roaring home with a Thurmond kill for the first game.
With two previous wins over Seymour, in the NVL regular season and the NVL Tournament championship game, the Red Raiders came in confident, pulling ahead 20-17 in Game Two. The Wildcats caught up on yet another Thurmond kill, finally winning on a pair of aces by sophomore Alyssa Cosciello.
Seemingly nerveless on their way to the No. 1 ranking, the Raiders were on their heels by Game Three, finishing with more unforced errors than they made in a set all year.
In the final game, Seymour continued to be flawless, with Thurmond punctuating the victory with a final kill.
“I have to say this is one of our most amazing wins,” said veteran Seymour coach Cathy Fedorowicz. “We got our spark in the (Class M semifinal) Granby win. We really believed in ourselves at that point.”
“We knew whoever played the cleanest game would win, and we played the cleanest game,” said Thurmond.
“We definitely didn’t execute like we have in the past,” said Torrington coach Christine Gamari. “Much as we’d like to say it’s just another game, this game isn’t like any other; there’s no hiding it. They’ve been here before. They played cleaner with fewer errors.”
Torrington showed flashes of its usual power and grit from everywhere, but Seymour had the key contributors when they counted most.
In Game One, back-to-back blocks by Torrington’s Nina Lestrud followed by a kill from Carissa Carbone (9 kills) seemed to ignite the Raiders, tipping to a 19-17 advantage.
Two unforced errors and a kill from Wildcat Cathryn Ragaini tied it again at 20-20.
Torrington produced most of the miracle digs in its earlier wins over Seymour. In Game Three, the Wildcats came up with the miracles followed by a kill from Thurmond.
In Game Two, it worked in reverse. The Raiders made an amazing dig mid-game; Thurmond came up with the kill for an 11-10 lead.
Torrington’s Jolie Fox (12 kills) showed her power for a 23-22 lead. Thurmond answered and Cosciello closed it out with two straight serving aces on serves Torrington habitually turned into sets and kills before Saturday.
When Seymour cruised to a 16-10 lead in Game Three, the Wildcat spark from its semifinal win over Granby was a raging fire.
Torrington climbed back to a 22-21 deficit. Seymour had the weapons to put it away with an ace by Kaitlyn Esposito and two final kills from Thurmond.
“We always say, ‘You gotta have Faith,’” Coach Fedorowicz said.
Seymour ends the season 24-2. Torrington is 25-2.
No. 3 Seymour 3, No. 1 Torrington 0
(25-23, 25-23, 25-21)
At East Haven High School
Highlights: S – Faith Thurmond19 kills, 3 blocks; Shari Minalga 24 digs; Caitlyn O’Hara 3 kills; Gosia Fryc 4 kills, 2 blocks; Samantha Diorio-Torres 7 kills; Alyssa Cosciello 18 assists. T – Jayleen Colon 24 assists, 9 digs; Carissa Carbone 9 kills, 12 digs; Jolie Fox 12 kills; Ali DuBois 17 digs.
Records: Seymour 24-2; Torrington 25-2.