Guilford spikes Amity in SCC volleyball semifinal

GUILFORD - Amanda King and the Guilford girls volleyball team had a plan in place for Amity and its ultra-talented hitter Abigail Harbinson. Planning to limit the damage Harbinson caused when in the front row, and maximize the opportunity when the junior was in the back, the Indians executed the plan to perfection.

Behind ten kills and nine digs from King, and 11 kills apiece from Trinity Flynn and freshman Emma Appelman, the second-seeded Indians topped third-seeded Amity 25-20, 20-25, 25-19, and 25-22 in the Southern Connecticut Conference semifinals at Guilford High Thursday evening.

With the win, Guilford returns to the SCC finals for the first time since 2011 where they will play top-seeded Cheshire, a 3-0 winner over Sheehan in another semifinal contest, Saturday evening at 6 p.m. at East Haven High.

“We knew when she (Harbinson) was in the front row, we had to play our “A” game,” King said. “She had so many hits we could not defend. We had to take advantage when she was in the back. We needed to get as many points as we could.”

Harbinson was masterful in the loss for the Spartans as she finished with 27 kills, 13 service points, seven blocks, seven digs, and four aces in the loss.

For Amity (15-4), it was a case of playing from behind way too often in the contest, trying to atone for numerous unforced errors. That combination proved to be too much for Amity to overcome.

“They are a solid team.” Amity coach Seth Davis said. “They go after every ball. They go hard. When you make so many unforced errors, you can’t get into a rhythm. We had lots of unforced errors. It makes it hard to get back into the game.”

After the teams split the first two games, Guilford (20-2) jumped out to a 14-5 lead in the third game with Appleman at the service line. King started the run with a kill, Samantha Seneco added another kill, and Appleman added a pair of aces.

A kill by Harbinson got Amity within 23-16, and another kill at 24-17, but King ended any thoughts of an Amity comeback with a kill to end the third game.

“Trinity Flynn plays with her (Harbinson), so we know exactly what she does,” Guilford coach Laura Meyers said. “She does everything. We prepared for her hits. We have a smart group of girls.”

With the game even at 14 in the fourth game, a kill by Flynn put Guilford up 17-14, and the Indians never trailed. Another kill by King had the Indians up 23-19, setting up the final two Guilford points for the win.

“The girls are very good friends,” Meyers said. “That is hard to come by. It is hard to get 12 or 13 girls get along and they all do. In my tenure (six years), we have never been to the finals. We were a couple of years before. No one from this group has been to the semifinals. We were not complacent to just be in the semifinals. The girls wanted to get to the finals. This is a huge step for the program. This is really exciting for the girls.”

Jaiden Williams ran the Amity offense with 36 assists and 11 service points, while also adding five digs. Brooke Matyasovsky had nine digs and nine service points, while Danielle Nordyk had 15 service points, and Caroline Fertman chipped in six kills.