WATERBURY >> Torrington High School’s girls volleyball team (19-3) took the long road to tonight’s NVL Tournament final against Woodland (20-1) with a 3-2 win over Naugatuck (17-5) Tuesday night at Wilby High School.
Naugatuck, the tournament’s third seed, gave top-seeded Woodland its only loss this season, 3-1. The Greyhounds are no pushovers.
Still, No. 2 Torrington handled the Greyhounds twice during the regular season. Tuesday, the first two games at Wilby (25-22; 25-20, Torrington) followed the trend.
When Naugatuck hit back for wins in the next two games (25-15; 25-20, Naugatuck), notice was served.
Anyone can win this tournament.
“We lost our focus; our nerves got to us,” said Torrington setter Kiley Rosengrant.
“We were on and off,” said outside hitter Jenna Gyuriscko.
Persistence through long, spectacular volleys won the day for the Raiders in the first two games. Now, after the let-down, it was time to kick it in again.
Rosengrant (37 assists, 4 kills, 19 digs, 3 aces) started the game with three straight aces from the service line. Contributions came from everywhere, especially during the longest volleys.
When Game One was still tight, 8-7 Torrington, libero Shelby Consolini (47 digs) found the empty spot on Naugatuck’s court for the point, after spectacular digs on both sides. Gyuriscko, still fresh, was at her best, with a giant kill, 15-10. Carly Ruzbasan (11 kills, 1 block, 4 aces) was a steady force at the net, along with Carissa Carbone (7 kills, 5 digs).
The Greyhounds came back from a 16-8 deficit to 19-19 in Game Two. The Raiders held firm. Freshman Kirsten Groves tapped a shot down for the tie-breaker. Naugatuck gave away three unforced errors. Ruzbasan made a big kill. Rosengrant put it away with a great shot to an empty spot.
Then the Torrington string ended. Naugatuck’s began.
Torrington’s Samantha Zordan had some of her finest moments in Game Three. The Greyhounds had more.
Kaitlyn Barry (6 kills) surrounded a service ace by Kathryn Healy with two of her kills for a 15-7 Naugatuck lead. Torrington never found its traction in the 25-15 loss.
It looked even worse for the Raiders in Game Four. Naugatuck got out to a 10-2 lead behind three aces by Ashley Whitney (8 kills) and kills by Kara Klimaszewski. This time, Torrington got all the way back to 15-15, then lost it again, as the Greyhounds marched away to a 25-20 win.
Some teams cave from such a thwarted effort as Torrington’s in Game Four. The Raiders never thought of it.
“I had faith in our team,” said Coach Christine Gamari. “I was actually surprised we went up two games at the beginning.”
“We knew we could do it. It was just a matter of getting there,” said Consolini.
“It’s the last game; we have to do this,” said Ruzbasan.
The grit was back, focus aimed.
Game Five, to 15 points, stayed close through 2-2. Then Torrington claimed the match like lost luggage at the airport.
The Raiders won the longest volley of the night, 4-2. Two Greyhound errors and a Groves kill reached 7-2. Ruzbasan, a rock at the service line, got one of her two aces in an eight-point string.
Even when a Torrington shot went long at 10-3, Consolini’s comment turned into “knowing the Raiders would win – just a matter of getting there.”
Carbone had a couple of kills in the final surge; Groves had one.
“Torrington is a top notch program,” said Naugatuck coach Kevin Wesche. “Those girls at the net were really hitting. We hit too many into the net.”
“(Woodland) is athletic, well-coached and disciplined,” said Coach Gamari, looking forward to tonight’s 7 p.m. date at Kennedy High School. “The team with the fewest mistakes will win.”
The Hawks swept Torrington 3-0 early in the season.
Contact Peter Wallace at (860) 489-3121 Ext. 330.
No. 2 Torrington 3, No. 3 Naugatuck 2
(25-22; 25-20; 15-25; 20-25; 15-8)
At Wilby High School
Highlights: N-Ashley Whitney 8 kills; Kaitlyn Barry 6 kills; Stefani Barry 8 assists. T-Kiley Rosengrant 37 assists, 4 kills, 19 digs, 3 aces; Carly Ruzbasan 11 kills, 1 block; 4 aces; Carissa Carbone 7 kills, 5 digs; Shelby Consolini 47 digs.
Records: Naugatuck 17-5; Torrington 19-3.