By PHIL BRODSKY
Orange Live Sports Writer
Sponsored by Robert Sousa of Sousa&Stone
With Lyman Hall playing consistently inconsistent, the Amity volleyball took advantage of its numerous scoring opportunities to defeat the Trojans 3-1 (25-11, 25-14, 21-25, 25-7) Wednesday night in in a Southern Connecticut Conference—Housatonic Division clash that was played in Woodbridge.
While admitting that his spikers had some uneven moments, for the most part, winning Coach Paul Thees was pleased with their efforts, especially when compared to their play in Monday’s 3-2 Housy win over Sheehan.
“So far, this was our best match of the week. We struggled at times, especially Game No. 3, but our scores were better tonight than they have been in a long while. Lyman Hall (now 6-3, 2-2 in the Housy) is much improved over last year, but we are too. They took Cheshire to 5 games and beat up Sheehan badly,” Thees said.
The match began with Amity jumping off to a quick 7-2 lead thanks to the first of Allison Denny’s team-high nine kills, her off-speed dump over the net, and a series of Trojan mistakes. Pairs of blocks and blasts to the floor by Melanie Schanke and Kim Petit enabled the visitors to creep back within two points (9-7) but the Lady Spartans suddenly caught first, went on a 12-2 run and shot out to a commanding 21-9 lead. During that run, Denny nailed two spikes to the floor and also drilled home a service ace. In addition Lyman Hall continued to have trouble getting the ball over the net and keeping it in bounds.
Game No. 1 ended with a kill from Sydnee Sousa, another off-speed dump by Denny, and a final ace from Sousa.
The second contest began as a see-saw struggle with the lead shifting back and forth. With the score knotted at 12-12, Amity went on another late run, thanks to blocks by Sousa and Denny, another Denny kill, and several more Trojan misfires. With their 6-1 run, the Lady Spartans surged ahead 18-13. The second contest ended with Amity completing a 13-2 spurt that also featured a pair of Kristin Post scores, two dumps by Kathryn Pisano, Heather Watt’s ace, and a game-ending kill by Jessica Bedini.
According to Thees, “We looked unbeatable in the first two games. Our scores were better than they had been in a while.”
Game No. 3 proved to be a totally different story. Stephanie Napierkowski’s pair of kills and her ace enabled Lyman Hall to jump ahead 4-1. While Amity stayed close, Napierkowski banged two more balls to make it 11-8. Amanda Vecchio’s ace and a Sousa kill tied the game at 12-12 but Amity never took the lead. Kills from Schanke and Emily Williams were sandwiched around Lauren Gaffney’s perfectly placed, returnable serve that enabled the visitors to open up a three point (16-13) lead.
Fighting back once again, Amity countered with kills from Pisano and Vecchio to reknot the tally at 17. The pendulum then swung back in an ace from Ally Hackett, the Trojans’ direction with kills from Napierkowski and Williams, as well as a block back over the net by Petit. With her team leading 24-21, Hackett brought the curtain down on that game with a final shot to the floor.
“We never found a spark to us going and take the lead in the third game. We were always behind,” Thees said.
In direct contrast to the third game loss, Game No. 4 was never in doubt. With Sousa serving, the winners opened up with seven points in a row—including three Sousa aces. The Trojans nibbled back within five points on kills by Napierkowski and Petit—but never any closer. Two kills from Sousa and another by Denny, and a pair of Denny aces ignited a 12-2 Amity run. Holding an insurmountable 21-9 margin, the winners soon turned out the lights with consecutive scoring hits by Post and Bedini along with a final pair Trojan side outs.
Thees said, “I switched our line-up for the fourth game and that turned things around. I moved Sydnee (Sousa) from weak side to outside hitter and put Claire Foster in as an extra defender. Syd’s defense can be spotty, but I know Syd can serve well and she hits better from the outside than she does from the weak side. It was a big switch that really paid off for us.”
Key players for the 7-2, 2-1 winners were: Denny (nine kills, and 20 of 21 serves with an ace), Sousa (seven kills, 17 of 17 from the service line with 3 aces) Post (six kills and 13 of 13 serves), Rebecca Denny (five kills), Vecchio (13 of 13 from the service line with an ace), Pisano (25 assists and 11-11 serving), Jenna Pisano (11 digs) and libero Liz Marino (25 digs).
Thees added, “This was one of our better matches this week. We spread things around nicely and only missed a total of three serves.”
Schanke recorded a team high 12 kills as well as seven digs for the losers. Napierkowski added nine kills and four blocks. Hackett chalked up 30 assists and five digs.
The Lady Spartans are back in action on Friday when they host Southern Connecticut Conference inter-divisional rival,Guilford at 5:30 p.m.