The West Haven volleyball team is accustomed to making comebacks. After starting the season with three straight losses and one win in its first seven matches, West Haven came back to qualify for the postseason with a 9-9 record.

The nine wins were enough to get West Haven a ticket back to the state tournament. With an 8-3 record to close the season, West Haven was looking to steal an opening-round victory.

The 19th-seeded Westies were in prime position to do just that when they traveled to play No. 14 Newington last Monday night.

After winning the first two games, West Haven could not close out Newington and fell 3-2 in the first round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament.

“It is a tough way to go out,” West Haven coach John Anderson said. “We had the first two games then lost it. I think we caught them flatfooted in the first two games. We just could not put them away.”

West Haven (9-10) looked to set the tone early in the contest and did so by winning the first game in easy fashion 25-10.

While the second game was not as easy, the Westies were able to pull out the victory 26-24 to take a commanding 2-0 lead.

The third game was the key game of the match.

With ample opportunity to sweep its way to the second round, West Haven could not get that decisive point.

As a result, Newington crawled its way back into the match with a 25-22 victory.

“We should have beaten them in that third game,” Anderson said. “We played our game and had a good chance to beat them. We just couldn’t put them away.”

Riding the momentum, Newington held off a West Haven surge in the fourth game and won 25-21 to take the steam out of the Westies.

The fifth game was just a matter of time before the West Haven season ended as Newington cruised to a 15-6 win and a thrilling come-from-behind victory.

“We were a little nervous towards the end and we made some mistakes,” Anderson said. “They (Newington) just played better.”

Carolyn King led the West Haven offense with 21 assists. Brittney Reis had six kills and three blocks while Carly Lindgren added seven blocks and four kills.

“I thought we really played well,” Anderson said. “We had a tough start to the season and we came back to finish strong. We were in good position to win. We played hard. It was tough for the kids. They did not want to lose.

“We had some strong wins to get in the tournament. The kids did a good job of finishing strong. We had a strong win at Cheshire which was a good one. They played hard.”