TRUMBULL — The brave new world of FCIAC girls volleyball finds teams playing in close groupings and that is fine with Trumbull coach Nicole Trommelen and Ludowe’s Meghan Skelton.
“Playing a team back-to-back in a short season like this is fine,” said Trommelen, whose Eagles defeated the visiting Falcons from Ludlowe 3-1 (25-18, 25-17, 21-25, 26-24) on Tuesday. “Last year we played a really tough game against Ludlowe (won by the Falcons in the regular season) and we never got to see them again (in FCIACs).”
Trumbull has won two championships in as many years, taking the FCIAC title in 2018, and the Class LL championship over Westhill last year. The only postseason offering after a 10-game season will have region ties.
“We are going to get to know each other very well,” said Skelton, whose team topped Trumbull 3-2 last Thursday. “There is not going to be a lot of surprises by the end. We are trying to find things out in a hurry. With the good teams in our region (Warde, Trumbull, St. Joseph), we will have to be on all the time.”
Ludlowe won FCIACs a year ago over Westhill, then lost to the Vikings in the Class LL semifinals.
Trumbull, led by senior setter Ali Castro and hitter Bailey Cenatiempo, is off to a 3-1 start. The Eagles swept St. Joseph 3-0 in consecutive matches before falling to Ludlowe.
“It was an improvement from last game,” Trommelen said. “We made adjustments that we needed to make. We focused staying deep on defense and receiving those balls. We were in the right spot today. And, when we needed the service line, we got the service line today.”
Kat Zanvetter, Trumbull’s libero, had 5 service points in the first game. Ada Sadlier had 3 aces and junior classmate Kiley Barbagallo 2.
Game 2 again went to Trumbull, with the Eagles again earning 5 aces (3 by Barbagallo and 2 for Sadlier).
Stephanie Olah keyed the attack from the outside, with Callan Vaughn. Jamie McPartland and Julia Larkin shared time in the middle. Jamie Willix was a staunch defender.
“With (sophomore middle back) Tatum Holderied out injured, we couldn’t get it together in the back row, which is essential,” Skelton said. “ It worked for a little bit, but you have to all the ball mechanics properly and at times we were letting balls drop (16 Trumbull aces).”
Ludlowe, which has played 5-set matches in all three previous games, pushed things in that direction with a 25-21 victory in game 3.
“We made too many service errors in game 3 and 4,” Trommelen said. “I think because we were aggressive serving in games 1 and 2 and were getting aces, maybe we were trying to aim it too much the next two games.”
Gabby Price found fellow seniors Jane Ransome and Natalie Reilly for spikes to keep the pressure on the Trumbull back row. Sophomores Madison Roman and Caitlin Finnegan worked the net in the middle, with junior Phoebe Kosinkas on the outside. Senior Kylie Mehta was strong at the net.
“We have a lot of sophomores and juniors,” Skelton said. “Allie Clark, at libero is important in the back, getting the ball to Gabby along with Amanda Bianco and Holly Casey.
Ludlowe took an 8-3 lead in game 4 before the set was tied 4 times down the stretch. Reilly was key to the Falcon offense with her spikes down the line.
Down 24-23, Trumbull got a sideout on Olah’s spike off a pass from Cenatiempo and a set from Castro.
Cenatiempo went to the stripe and served 3 winners. Olah twice had point earning hits before Vaughn won at the net for gamepoint.
“We are a highlight team in the 5th game and we almost got there,” Skelton said. “Nat Reilly has been fun to watch. She is now a senior, a big lefty hitter, taking the back sets and making the blocks It is exciting to see her come into her own.”
Trumbull 3, Ludlowe 1
Highlights: L — Gabby Price 19 assists, 10 digs; Jane Ransome 9 kills, 8 service points; Allie Clark 13 digs, 8 service points; Nat Reilly 9 kills, 2 blocks. T — Ali Castro 39 assists; Bailey Cenatiempo 12 kills, 26 digs; Stephanie Olah 13 kills; Kat Zanvettor 20 digs; Ada Sadlier 5 aces; Kiley Barbagallo 4 aces.
Records: Ludlowe 2-2; Trumbull 3-1.