The Lauralton Hall volleyball team opened up its season with a 3-1 win (25-23, 22-25, 25-12-27-25) over Bunnell on Thursday night in Milford in a South-West Conference non-league matchup.
Allison Carey led coach Seth Davis’ Crusaders with 21 assists, eight service points and two digs, while Liz Levine had 15 digs and seven service points.
Taylor Whittaker added 10 kills, five aces, three digs and 12 service points for Lauralton Hall, which avoided a fifth game when Whittaker fired an ace on match point.
The Crusaders then dropped a 3-0 decision to Newtown High on Friday night.
Facing Bunnell, Lauralton held a 2-1 edge heading into the fourth game, but fell behind 12-8 following an ace from the Bulldogs’ Jess Bogdwicz.
After a Crusader timeout, Bogdwicz notched another service point before Lauralton won back serve. Ann Marie Guzzi served up a point, before Whittaker hammered a kill to cut the Crusader deficit to 15-13.
A 4-2 Crusader burst, capped by a spike by Haley Congdon, tied the game a 17, before a hit from Alexandra Moleski gave Lauralton Hall an 18-17 lead.
Another kill from Congdon made it 20-18, before a three-point run finished off by an ace from Congdon pushed the Crusader margin to 23-19.
A service error by Bunnell set up match point at 24-21, but a service error and a point from Bunnell’s Kayla Pataki pulled the Bulldogs within a point, 24-23.
Pataki then served in another point to tie it at 24, before a service error gave Lauralton Hall a 25-24 margin.
But, Guzzi’s serve went out of bounds to forge another tie, 25-25, the 10th deadlock of the game.
Whittaker then took care of the rest, knocking down a kill and an ace to close out the match.
Lauralton Hall also pulled out the first game, holding off a late Bulldog rally.
A tip shot by Bogdwicz at 21-17 ignited a 6-2 Bulldog spurt to tie the game at 23, with Erica Shannon delivering an ace.
A service error, followed by an errant Bunnell shot, gave the 25-23 victory to the Crusaders.
In game two, Bunnell tied things up at 22 after big hits by Shannon. An ace by Shannon, followed by a tip from Taylor Jean-Guillaume, sealed the game in Bunnell’s favor.
Lauralton Hall cruised in the third game behind the service of Congdon, Carey and Whittaker. The Crusaders surged out to a 21-7 lead, using an 8-0 Congdon service run that broke the game open.
Whittaker’s ace then secured the 25-12 win, setting up the decisive fourth game.
Lauralton Hall travels to Oxford High (1-1) on Friday for a 5 p.m. contest.