Weston's girls volleyball team was serving and two points away from extending top-seeded RHAM to a fifth set in Wednesday's Class M semifinal at East Haven High School. Unfortunately for the 12th-seeded Trojans, those two never came.
RHAM, a regional high school comprised of students from Hebron, Andover and Marlborough, scored the final four points of the fourth game to beat Weston, 25-23. RHAM won the first game, 25-10, and the third game, 25-23. Weston won the second game, 25-21.
"It had to be jitters in the first game,'' Weston coach Jamie Charles said. "It's the first time we've been in an atmosphere like that. I was so proud of them and the way that they fought back."
Charles and Weston (16-7) had much to be proud of. RHAM (21-2), three-time defending state champions, had its hands full with Weston when the Trojans settled down following the first game defeat. Led by Christina Welsh (18 kills, seven service points and 20 digs) and Lili Clement (eight kills, 10 service points and 13 digs) Weston hung tough for the final three games.
In the clinching game, Weston trailed 21-19 when it got a sideout to creep within a point. Jessica Gersh (28 assists) served three points to put the Trojans up 23-21. After RHAM earned a sideout, Kara Trippel stood on the service line and served three straight points. A Weston kill attempt crashed into the net for RHAM's winning point.
"I told them in a timeout it was going to go to a fifth game,'' Charles said. "I guess they didn't believe me. It's a game of momentum and they had it at the end."
Weston closed the season strong. It won 10 of 11 games heading into Wednesday's contest, with the only loss a tough five-set decision to Newtown in the SouthWest Conference semifinals. The Trojans will have a strong nucleus for next year. Seniors who played their final games for the Trojans included Welsh, Maggie Montelli, Haylee Winikoff and Sammy Fino.
Weston has never won a state volleyball title. It lost three times in the finals in the 1970s.
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