By Justin Cait
HAMDEN, Oct. 28 -- The Hamden Hall varsity girls volleyball team lost its two-match win streak in a three-set sweep on Saturday afternoon against St. Luke’s at home.
A crowd of well over 100 filled the Beckerman Athletic Center in Hamden, not only for the volleyball game, but for Hamden Hall’s “Dig Pink” game in support of breast cancer awareness.
Pink balloons, breast cancer awareness logos and even a pink table for a raffle, adorned the gym, while fans wore pink clothing and players from both teams sported pink socks, headbands, hair ties and warm-up shirts.
The event wasn’t held just because of October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but due to a close connection in the Hamden Hall volleyball community.
“Our JV coach was diagnosed with breast cancer, so we thought it would be a nice thing to raise money,” senior hitter Katherine Liseo said. “We set up something online with the Side-Out Foundation and our goal was to reach $1,000. We did a raffle and have been raising money with grandparents, parents and all sort of people from the volleyball team to get to our goal.”
In the game’s first set, St. Luke’s (9-3) quieted the crowd with a commanding 25-17 victory.
While Hamden Hall’s (6-7) defensive efforts kept the Hornets within arm’s reach of the Storm, it was not enough to earn a victory in the match.
As the game progressed, it seemed as though Hamden Hall was poised for a pushback.
Despite St. Luke’s senior Bridget Dalton earning the first kill of the second set, Hamden Hall played catch-up through the first 16 points of the match. The game temporarily shifted after Hornets senior hitter Cassi Smith tied the game at 8-8 with a kill, but from there on out it was all St. Luke’s.
The Storm’s back line was able to dig virtually every ball sent its way, while Dalton and senior hitter Courteney Newman added multiple kills to increase the lead to 19-10. Hamden Hall senior hitter Miangela Ramos finally stopped St. Luke’s run, but a subsequent errant serve gave possession back to the Storm.
In that possession, senior setter Maria Minuesa landed six consecutive serves to pave way for a 25-11 set victory.
“Where we got stuck was with a couple of servers and on serves received,” Hamden Hall head coach Nally Sahin said. “Just some miscommunication here and there.”
The Hornets’ strong defensive play was evident from the start of third set.
Highlighted by a huge block from freshman hitter Asha Parker, Hamden Hall went up 6-2 to begin the final frame before St. Luke’s clawed back.
Back-and-forth play ensued until Storm head coach Abby Bielski called a timeout when the score was 13-11 in favor of Hamden Hall.
After the huddle, multiple kills from Dalton and perfectly placed serves from Minuesa led to a 21-14 St. Luke’s lead and Hamden Hall’s eventual demise.
Sahin called a timeout of her own at that point, but it was too late.
A pair of errant plays from Parker allowed St. Luke’s to remain on top as it ultimately closed out the set, 25-14 and the match, 3-0.
“For the most part we were fighting in every game, so I thought it was a pretty good battle” Sahin added. “We’re going to keep adjusting that rotation so we can get that chemistry down pat.”
Next up, the Hornets travel to Waterbury to face Chase Collegiate on Nov. 1.
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)