With six returning seniors, all of whom had plenty of varsity experience, the Seymour volleyball team had plenty of reason to be confident coming into the season.
Through 14 matches, the Wildcats are unscathed.
When Seymour knocked off Watertown, 3-0, on Tuesday, it marked the 14th consecutive shutout victory for the Wildcats, who have won all 42 sets this season. They also own a 42-match regular-season winning streak which started on Sept. 29, 2017. Seymour won the final 10 matches that year and was 18-0 last season.
This year’s Wildcats are captained by a pair of senior hitters: Faith Rousseau, an All-State second teamer last year, and Kolby Sirowich.
“Our two captains have led the team offensively with some dominant hitting and serving,” Seymour coach Cathy Federowicz said. “They were our go-to players last year and continue to play at a high level each and every practice and match.”
With veteran experience present, the biggest question mark was at setter, as the Wildcats graduated All-State selection Alyssa Cosciello after winning the Class M championship last year.
The answer has been sophomore Emma Rousseau, the younger sister of the Wildcats’ captain.
“Coming into the season, I thought we would be strong as a team,” Federowicz said. “We have six seniors, all of whom played significant varsity minutes last season.
“We had graduated our all-state setter, so that was the one position that needed to be filled immediately. Sophomore Emma Rousseau has taken over that responsibility for us and she has been on a steep learning curve ever since. She has a great work ethic and is determined to play that position at the highest level and I believe she will be more than ready to lead the team come postseason play.”
In addition to the co-captains, the Wildcats are also getting offense from senior Stephanie Ferrara and junior Jasmine Franco
Senior libero Kat Kuscera, along with seniors Jenna Baxter and Vicky Sampiere and junior Jacey Cosciello, lead the defense and Federowicz said they continue to improve daily.
The Wildcats took a hit last week when sophomore Mackenzie Sirowich was sidelined with a season-ending injury.
“Her energy on the court will be hard to replace going forward,” Federowicz said.
The Wildcats currently own a spot at the top of both the NVL and CIAC Class M standings and moved into the Connecticut Coaches Poll at No. 9 last week.
Regular-season wins don’t always lead to playoff success. Last year, the Wildcats were heavily-favored to win the NVL title but fell to Kennedy 3-2 in the final. They rebounded to win four straight in the state tournament, claiming the Class M title with a 3-1 win over Weston in the final.
The Wildcats gained a measure of revenge against Kennedy (11-3) in this year’s opener, and have also knocked off Woodland (11-2) for their most impressive wins. Their final five matches include Holy Cross (9-5) on Friday, a rematch with Woodland on Oct. 28, and a showdown with undefeated Naugatuck (13-0) on Oct. 30.
“As a team, we know every team in the league would like to beat us,” Federowicz said. “We need to stay focused every day on the court and play at a high level and hope good things happen.”
VIKINGS RIDE WAVE
Westhill and Darien are two of the teams in contention for the FCIAC championship this season and if their regular-season meeting is any indication, the playoffs should be a wild ride.
The Vikings won a 3-0 battle with the Blue Wave last Friday at Westhill High School, but the final score masks the intensity of the match. None of the three sets were decided with the usual 25-point wins, as Westhill edged out each set by scores of 29-27, 32-30, and 27-25. That’s 170 points in three sets for those who are scoring at home.
“Tonight proved that we are ready to fight,” Westhill senior Sophia Thagouras said. “It’s all about your team’s mentality to win a set 32-30. We showed a mindset tonight that we can carry with us throughout the rest of this season.”
“We’re realizing that every point is important, not just when it’s 22-22,” Darien senior Lindsey Fay said. “We want great competition like this. And to play before a crowd like this was fun.”
The competitive contest served both teams well, as each went on to defeat a pair of previously-unbeaten teams in their next matches. Westhill knocked off Greenwich 3-0 on Monday, while the Wave edged Ludlowe 3-2 on Tuesday.
UNBEATEN NO MORE
Being undefeated wasn’t so easy this week, as three teams suffered their first blemishes within a matter of a couple of days.
Greenwich (12-1), which had lost just four sets this season, was shut out by Westhill 25-22, 25-23, 25-22 in Stamford on Monday. The Vikings, who are now 10-2, picked up a key tiebreaker in the FCIAC playoff race.
New Milford (11-1) suffered a similar fate to Greenwich, although the Green Wave held on for five sets when they lost to Immaculate 17-25, 25-20, 15-25, 25-19, 15-8, Monday in Danbury. Immaculate improved to 10-3.
On Tuesday, it was Ludlowe’s turn to fall, as the Falcons (12-1) were edged by Darien (8-4) in five sets, 25-10, 25-21, 19-25, 18-25, 15-13. The Wave has played in four five-set matches this season and this was their first victory.
Ludlowe had been the last remaining unbeaten team in Class LL.
Overall, seven teams are still undefeated in the state, including four from Class L: Guilford (13-0), Naugatuck (13-0), Bristol Eastern (11-0) and RHAM (10-0). Bristol Eastern will host RHAM next Wednesday.
In Class M, Seymour and Prince Tech are both 14-0, and in Class S, Coventry is 12-0.