Continuing their winning streak, the Cheshire Rams (16-2) swept the Shelton Gaels (12-6) for their regular season finale Monday night.
The spotlight was truly on the seniors as they dominated the starting lineup.
“It really wasn’t our true lineup,” said head coach Sue Bavone about starting the seniors for senior night. “But you know, they got it done. They were able to do it so that was great.”
Not only did they get it done, they got it done with ease.
Taking the first set 25-16, the Rams then created a comfortable gap by opening the second set with a 10-0 run.
The team beamed with confidence as its offensive end proved to be no match for the Gaels.
Marli Green, a senior middle hitter, led the front row with eight kills and five blocks for the match.
“She’s solid,” Bavone said. “You know she can really intimidate the heck out of any high school defense.”
Upon every kill by Green, the crowd would chant in unison, “Whoop! There it is!”
Green said she uses her confidence strategically in matches.
“I like to look confident. When you look confident, it helps intimidate the other team,” she said.
This tactic proved useful as Green marked four kills in the second set, which the Rams took, 25-5.
The third set started slower, beginning with a close score of 5-5. But after Bavone called a timeout , the Rams took back their lead by minimizing errors and having a consistent offensive run by senior setter Eleonora Ascheri.
Green scored the final point of the match with a kill from the middle, ending the game 25-16.
Bavone said the collective ease throughout the match has been the team’s main goal throughout the season.
“The type of kids we have are just very analytical, over-thinkers,” Bavone said. “And we’re just trying to tell them to start talking and start communicating and you won’t have to think so much and just play. So, that’s something we’ve really been working on.”
As the Rams head into the playoffs Saturday, Bavone hopes improved passing will allow for an offense more centralized around Green.
“Our free ball passing needs to be a lot better because we need to be able to run her,” Bavone said. “We need her for offense, and if we can’t get these free ball passes, that’s something we have struggled with all year.”
The Rams’ six-match winning streak should provide momentum heading into playoffs.
Green said, “I think this win will help a lot, and each practice we ramp it up a little harder.” .
For the nine seniors, the victory signified the final match on their home court, but the beginning of what is left to come.
Students in Quinnipiac University's JRN361: Sports Reporting course cover local high school sports competitions. Their work is showcased here.
Banner photo courtesy
Dana Jensen/The Day (2003)