STAMFORD — When they were freshmen, the goal was to celebrate each and every win equally.
But now that they are seniors, the Westhill girls volleyball Gang of Eight (and four juniors) are chasing a different mission statement.
This season is about titles and banners.
The Vikings earned their first championship on this journey Monday, sweeping rival Stamford, 25-13, 25-15, 27-25 before a loud partisan crowd in the J. Walter Kennedy Athletic complex.
The win, combined with last week’s 3-0 triumph over Trinity Catholic, earned Westhill the city volleyball champions as well as one point in the 2019-20 City Cup Standings race against Stamford.
“In the beginning (freshman year), Stamford was an incredibly tough opponent (Stamford was FCIAC and Class LL champs in 2016),” Westhill senior Spohia Thagouras said. “We’ve battled them hard the last three years and earned city titles. Our eight seniors wanted to finish strong.”
The senior energy and the support of Westhill’s Purple Pack were evident Monday. The Vikings checked all the boxes combining solid serving, a two-setter (Thagouras, Vana Servos) offense and multiple hitters for the win.
Westhill (7-2, 6-1 FCIAC) bounced back from a 3-1 loss to Trumbull last Saturday. Trumbull topped Westhill in the 2018 FCIAC Championship Final.
“The girls want to go as far as they can. A little further than last season (Westhill lost in Class LL semifinals),” said Westhill coach Marianna Linnehan. “They are playing with lots of experience. They learned they needed to play with more determination and more aggressiveness in the loss to Trumbull. It showed tonight.”
Westhill captured six FCIAC Championship between 1975 and 1986. Since then, only runnerup finishes in 2004 and 2018.
The Vikings were state champions in 1975 and 1980. Runnersup in 1982 and 1986.
“We know it’s been a while between titles,” Thagouras said. “We want to take advantage of this team’s opportunity. We’ve come together over the last four years. We’re at our peak now.”
As Stamford found out Monday.
“I’m thrilled with the effort by my team. This might have been the best we’ve played this season,” Stamford coach Mike Smeriglio said. “Westhill may be the best team in the FCIAC and the state. We couldn’t score enough. You can only play defense for so long each point.”