BEACON FALLS >> Torrington’s girls volleyball team rampaged to the Naugatuck Valley League Championship with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-11, 25-16) sweep over defending champion Seymour in the NVL Tournament final at Woodland High School Thursday night.
For the second straight time, the champion came in undefeated in the league. This year, Seymour (21-2) lost just one regular-season game (3-1 to Torrington).
Torrington (22-1) swept through the season except for a five-game non-league loss to Granby, avenged 3-0 in a rematch.
“Deep down, we wanted to send a message that our record was not a fluke,” said Torrington coach Christine Gamari after the Raiders’ overwhelming win on Thursday.
Seymour coach Cathy Fedorowicz said, “As a team, we didn’t play well; nobody played up to their ability.”
But much of that came from Torrington. The Wildcats are not used to facmg a team that beat them soundly in the regular season, Fedorowicz agreed.
And the Red Raiders were on their game from start to finish.
“My team was always playing defense,” Fedorowicz said. “Torrington was solid in everything they brought to the table.”
That meant devastating kills from all parts of the Raider court thanks to perfect sets; impossible trademark digs; and almost flawless serving.
Game One was close (8-6, Torrington) until Nina Lestrud brought the first Raider example of Torrington serving power with two straight aces to widen the gap.
For Seymour, serving was more often one and done.
Middle hitter Jolie Fox (13 kills, 2 blocks), playing the game of her life, made that point emphatically with a cannon shot to regain the serve at 13-8.
“I’ve had more kills in a game,” she said, “but tonight, I put them up against some of the best hitters I’ve seen. Playing Seymour is always a rush.”
Fox got credit for two blocks in the scoring column, but the big crowd at Woodland saw many more Fox blocks keep volleys alive for Raider points while helping to keep Seymour’s big hitter, senior Faith Thurmond (5 kills, 3 blocks), under control.
When Thurmond rose up to challenge, Fox often changed her own tactics to a lob to a vacant spot.
“That’s the kind of dominant force I’ve seen (in Fox) at times,” said Coach Gamari. “She’s been coming on late in the season. I saw a lot of maturity on my team tonight. When they had a problem, they came up with a way to fix it.”
Fox had a starring role. Everyone else was a key to the success.
Following Fox’s first big kill, Lauren Gaghan (6 kills, 2 digs, 3 aces) served an ace; Ali DuBois (3 kills, 7 digs, 1 ace) had a kill; Candyce Jewett (7 digs, 1 ace) served an ace; and Lestrud had a block.
The score was 17-9; the night already belonged to Torrington.
The Wildcats made a respectable 24-17 comeback. A thundering kill by Fox for the final first-game point made it clear to any lingering doubters: This trophy is going home to Torrington.
Games Two and Three were preludes to that trip as other Raider stars claimed pieces of the prize.
Carissa Carbone (7 kills, 9 digs, 1 ace), the league’s Most Valuable Senior, took her bows for the honor with more thundering kills and impossible digs.
Setter Jayleen Colon (25 assists, 1 kill, 8 digs, 1 ace) played her steady role as the creative, dependable catalyst for all the power. Not only can every Raider score kills, thanks to Colon the Wildcats couldn’t be sure where it would come from next.
“It feels great,” said Colon, with the trophy in hand.
“It’s a relief after all our hard work,” said Carbone.
“Everyone on the team was part of it,” said Gamari, a league champion in her own Torrington playing days. “I don’t remember the details of the games, but I remember getting the banner.”
No. 1 Torrington 3, No. 2 Seymour 0
(25-17, 25-11, 25-16)
At Woodland High School
Highlights: S – Faith Thurmond 5 kills, 3 blocks; Shari Mialga 10 digs; Caitlyn O’Hara 6 digs. T – Carissa Carbone 7 kills, 9 digs, 1 ace; Jolie Fox 13 kills, 2 blocks; Jayleen Colon 25 assists, 1 kill, 8 digs, 1 ace; Lauren Gaghan 6 kills, 2 digs, 3 aces; Ali DuBois 3 kills, 7 digs, 1 ace; Candyce Jewett 7 digs, 1 ace.
Records: Seymour 21-2; Torrington 22-1.