STAMFORD — Intracity battles always stoke the competitive fires.
That certainly was the case Wednesday as the Trinity Catholic and Stamford volleyball squads met at historic Paul Kuczo Memorial gym.
The good fight was fought by both the Black Knights and Crusaders as Stamford posted a 25-19, 30-28 25-8 triumph before a partisan crowd.
It was the third win in its last five matches for Stamford (6-10, 4-9 FCIAC).
In a season where Westhill has already captured the Stamford city girls volleyball title, Stamford and Trinity Catholic was a good matchup as neither side boasts an abundance of height.
Nearly every point in the opening two games produced extended rallies.
In Game 1, Stamford held leads of 8-5, 11-7 and 18-13. Trinity Catholic rallied to close within 21-19, but Stamford setter Sarah Wargo (26 assists) served out the 25-19 victory.
Game 2 was a highlight reel for both teams. Trinity Catholic (4-11, 2-11 FCIAC) led 4-0, 7-2, 9-4, 14-11 and 20-17 before Stamford forged a 20-20 deadlock.
There were eight ties after that. Then Stamford’s Jordan Rossi earned two service points off kills by Widline Thomas (six kills) and Liani Mercado (team-high 12 kills) for 30-28 and a 2-0 match edge.
“The second game was such great competition,” Trinity Catholic coach Ali Walsh said. “Intracity rivalry matches always bring out the best.”
After seeing four chances at Game 2 victory slip away, Trinity Catholic may have been emotionally spent. Stamford’s depth of hitters Mercado, Kim Saunders (eight kills), Thomas and Rossi took control.
Thanks to Lindsey Scordato (10 straight service points) and Kadence Green (four consecutive points), Stamford fashioned a 16-1 surge. The 21-5 advantage became a 25-8 triumph to complete the 3-0 sweep.
“In Game 2, both teams were phenomenal. That was the key stretch in the match,” Stamford coach Mike Smeriglio said. “I was pleased the way our group kept their composure throughout Game 2. Trinity Catholic played very well.”
It has been a good campaign for Trinity Catholic as the Crusaders have downed Wright Tech, Central, Harding and Wilton this season.
Former Westhill volleyball coach Ali Walsh returned to the sideline after taking a hiatus. It has been a rewarding journey for both Walsh and the young Crusaders. With Sophie Thompson as setter, Valeria Barbaglio collected a team-high 18 kills and two blocks on the afternoon.
“I’m very lucky to have this group of girls to work with,” Walsh said. “I helped my dad (Trinity Catholic’s legendary coach Mike Walsh) last winter during the girls basketball team’s run to the Class S state championship and FCIAC finals. I got the itch to coach again. Having Marj Eilertsen and Ali Palma on the volleyball staff has made it easy and fun.
“It’s been a nice family atmosphere. We’ve been able to teach the group a lot of new things,” Walsh continued. “The improvement in all the players from Day 1 of practice has been drastic and phenomenal.”