Weston volleyball coach Jamie Charles knew it was just a matter of time before her team regained its momentum in Monday's Class M tournament opener against Stratford. Once they did, the 12th-seeded Trojans never let it go.
Weston won 3-1 to advance to a second-round matchup Tuesday at fifth-seeded Nonnewaug. The game scores were 25-13, 21-25, 25-18 and 25-8. "I was waiting for us to get the momentum back,'' Charles said. "I knew if we got it back, we'd be OK. Stratford really made us work."
Weston (13-5), which had its seven-game winning streak snapped in a 3-2 loss to Newtown in the SouthWest Conference semifinals, took control early in the first game behind the powerful hitting of Christina Welsh with 16 kills and Hannah Ashmore with 12. Stratford tightened its defense in the second game and grabbed an early 8-2 lead in the third game. "I could sense from the start that energy was down a little bit,'' she said. "I think we were kind of waiting for Stratford to make mistakes."
As suddenly as the Trojans lost momentum, they regained it. Trailing 13-9, Welsh and Ashmore slammed consecutive kills as Weston ripped off three straight points behind the serving of Lili Clement. The match changed for good when Maggie Montelli's ace tied the game at 16 apiece. The serving specialist went on a five-point run.
In the final game, Weston raced out to a 6-1 lead and Ashmore (10 digs, 11 service points) served five straight points to take a 12-2 lead. Ashmore's final kill ended the match. Setter Jessica Gersh, with 40 assists, set up Welsh (14 service points, 11 digs, three aces) and Ashmore, and Stratford could not stop the assault.
Weston figures to be a tough competitor for higher ranked teams in the tournament. The Trojans play some of the best teams around in the SWC, which bodes well at tournament time. "The whole trick is playing consistently,'' Charles said. "They have a lot of potential. I'm hoping this was just first-game jitters."
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