STRATFORD — The Stratford girls’ volleyball team took the quick bus ride to Bunnell for a cross-town battle that took a full five games to be decided as the Red Devils outlasted the Bulldogs 3-2.
Despite Stratford defeating Bunnell in every head-to-head matchup since 2016, the match was highly competitive with both teams seemingly matching each other point for point.
Stratford was carried to its fifth straight victory over Bunnell by Sami Perley, its lone returning player from a year ago. Perley led the Red Devils in kills (16), digs (15), and aces (7).
“I know they wanted to get at us because we beat them the last two years,” Stratford head coach Lisa Buccieri said. “I know it was a big game, I lost a lot from last year so this is a very young team I have. I have one returing varsity player and the rest of them were all JV, so this meant a lot to them to come in here and take Bunnell for five games.”
Stratford took the first game 26-24, and Bunnell answered back by taking Games 2 and 3 (29-27, 26-24).
With their backs against the wall, the inexperienced Red Devils knotted it up after winning the fourth set 25-21.
Through the first four games, Stratford had won two total points more than Bunnell as the match came down to the fifth and final set.
Stratford came out strong in the fifth set and finished the job 15-7.
“We have a lot to work on still,” Buccieri said. “There are a lot of things with the hitting and the blocking that we need to work on, but the teamwork and the way they were talking to each other and lifting each other up, that showed me a lot with this team.”
Also leading the way for Stratford was Sydney Ritchie, who collected 12 kills, nine digs and 20 assists. For Bunnell, Adriana DeBernardo had a game-high 23 kills and Mariana Trovarelli added14 kills and two blocks.
Despite the loss, first-year Bunnell head coach Daniel Romaniello saw the game as a step in the right direction.
“We turned it up a little late in the first game,” Romaniello said. “I would have liked to have a better serve-receive in that game. If we turned it up a little quicker I think we probably would have had that first one and not had to play four, but we are going to back to practice and work a couple things out. Communication was a little light but their grit showed on the court today because we were down and they pushed through. Phenomenal fight in every game.”
The two face off again in Stratford on October 16th.