AVON, Nov. 9 – The Avon High girls volleyball team came into Monday’s Class L tournament game with Sacred Heart Academy with some confidence.
In their last game, the Falcons battled RHAM, the No. 2 ranked team in the most recent state coaches poll. They took a 2-1 lead on the Sachems before RHAM rallied to earn a 3-2 victory in the CCC Tournament semifinals.
“That was our coming out to show what we could be if we played at that level,” Avon High coach Curt Burns said. “We showed we can play with one of the top teams in the state.”
The No. 14 Falcons took care of business in their final home game of the season, sweeping No. 19 Sacred Heart Academy, 3-0 by scores of 25-21, 25-11, 25-22.
Avon advances to face No. 3 Torrington (18-3) on Thursday night at 6 p.m. in the second round of the Class L tournament at the Connie Donahue gymnasium.
Senior Abby Laszewski led the Falcons with 19 kills and six digs. Maddy Hart added 11 kills while Grace Stevens had five kills and a block. Senior setter Brooke Fisher had 36 assists, nine digs and two aces. Senior libero Della Hellwig had seven digs and three serving aces.
The match was close at times but when it was needed, the Falcons were able to pull away. In game one, the visiting Hearts led by two 19-17 but couldn’t close it out. Avon battled back to tie the match at 20-20 on a kill by Laszewski.
Laszewski put the ball down on the floor when an errant Sacred Heart pass came back over the net to give Avon a 21-20 lead. A block by Laszewski made it 23-20. She had back-to-back kills to help Avon close out the match.
“Abby is a tough match up and very few teams have someone who can match up with her and her abilities,” Burns said.
Strong serving by the Falcons and poor passing by the Hearts allowed Avon to cruise to a 25-11 win in game two.
Game three was more difficult. Sacred Heart had a 19-18 lead but a kill by Hart tied the game at 19-19. A kill by Abby Lancaster gave Avon a 21-19 lead. Two of Avon’s final three points came on Laszewski kills.
Avon has played well in the last week. They outlasted South Windsor in the CCC quarterfinals, 3-2 and became the first team to hold a 2-1 lead on RHAM this season.
“We hit the wall a bit,” Burns said regarding the RHAM match. “It was more intense that the five set match we played against South Windsor. The level of play was much stronger and it showed we can play at that level.”
Now, Avon is getting ready for Torrington, a squad that was flat in a 3-1 semifinal loss to Woodland Regional in the Naugatuck Valley League tournament earlier this week.
“We have to keep polishing everything in our game,” Burns said. “Our ball control, our first contacts – digs and service receive. Can we get the ball where we need it to go?”
NOTES: The last time Avon won twice in the state tournament was in 2005 when they won two matches to advance to the Class M semifinal. … Avon last played in the quarterfinals in 2010.
Seymour 3, Canton 0
SEYMOUR – Top-seeded Seymour was upset in the semifinals of the NVL Tournament by Oxford, 3-1 last week. This time, Seymour swiftly took care of business.
Seymour (19-1) eliminated Canton, 25-16, 25-13, 25-8. It was the first tournament appearance ever for the Warriors, who finish at 8-13 on the year. Seymour was ranked No. 7 in the latest state coaches poll that was issued just prior to the NVL Tournament.