TORRINGTON >> A week ago, The Gilbert School girls volleyball team (1-11) stunned Wolcott Tech (11-2) with their first win of the season and the Wildcats’ first loss.
Thursday, back home at Wolcott Tech, the Wildcats were ready, claiming revenge with a 3-1 (25-21; 19-25; 25-18; 25-22) win.
“The loss was an eye-opener for the girls, but it had its good sides,” said Wolcott Tech coach Ray Tanguay. “It took the pressure off their back and it made them work harder in practice.”
“Maybe we didn’t have the same intensity (Thursday),” said Gilbert coach Cindy Fixer. “I tried to warn them; it’s not a given, just because we beat them in three last time.”
This time, the Wildcats were on the mission.
With two starters out (Lydia Carlson for the season; Angelica Randall for another week) and their seventh game in two weeks on Pink-Out Night, Tech still took off like a shot in Game One.
They built a 10-3 lead on the strength of three aces from Kimmie Stack (9 kills, 6 aces) and a kill from Cassie Dablain (15 kills, 2 blocks).
Last week, the Wildcats had early leads in two of the three games, then withered under Gilbert comebacks.
In Game One, the Yellowjackets threatened to do it all over again.
Senior captain Amanda Root (5 kills, 4 aces, 8 digs) started with a pair of aces; freshman Ali Brochu (6 kills, 3 aces, 3 assists) added a kill and an ace; a kill by Root brought the ‘Jackets all the way back to 14-13.
This time, the Wildcats refused to give in. An ace by Stack, kill and a tip by Dablain and a string of Gilbert errors had Tech close to the edge, ahead 22-18.
Gilbert came back to 23-21. A final kill by Stack and an ace by Casey Farrington (32 assists, 15 digs, 8 aces) put Tech over the top.
“Errors are the story of our life,” said Coach Fixer.
Nevertheless, Gilbert focus returned in Game two.
Bianca Pimental started with a back-row point to an empty spot on Tech’s side. Isabelle Rein added an ace. Kaylah Leonard hit a spot. Root, an ace.
This game, even some of the errors came back as points when over-eager Wildcats kept them in play.
This game, Tech had the unforced errors.
Gilbert kept a two, three and four-point lead throughout, finally pulling to a 25-19 win on a final Wildcat error and an ace by Pimental.
Tied a game apiece, the Wildcats corrected their Game Two mistakes in Game Three.
“We can do it when we communicate and get good sets,” said Dablain.
“It all starts with great passes,” said Wildcat setter Casey Farrington.
Tech passes were on target. Equally important, they stopped keeping Gilbert errors in play.
Still, the score stood 14-14. Then Farrington took over at the service line, ripping off six aces in a row for an insurmountable gap. Meagan Jones hit a spot for 24-18. A Yellowjacket error ended it 25-18.
Game Four stayed close through 13-12, Wolcott Tech. The Wildcats surge to 21-13 on a tap-down by Dablain; a kill by Andrews; and three aces by Stack.
Gilbert came all the way back to 24-22 on a tap by Root, two aces by Rein and a string of Wolcott Tech errors.
Once again, the Wildcats’ will stood firm.
Jones put the match away with a final kill.
“It felt good,” grinned Farrington.
Tech’s Pink-Out Night was its third annual appeal. The effort has raised more than $2,000 for the Pink Rose Fund at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital.
Wolcott Tech 3, Gilbert 1
At Wolcott Tech High School
(25-21; 19-25; 25-18; 25-22)
Highlights: G-Niki Nash 6 kills, 3 aces, 2 digs; Ali Brochu 6 kills, 3 aces, 3 assists; Amanda Root 5 kills, 4 aces, 8 digs. WT-Casey Farrington 32 assists, 15 digs, 8 aces; Cassie Dablain 15 kills, 2 blocks; Kimmie Stack 9 kills, 6 aces; Emily Andrews 6 kills.
Records: Gilbert 1-11; Wolcott Tech 11-2.