Eagles ousted from states
These Terriers played more like Pit Bulls.
The No. 19 seed Rocky Hill girls volleyball team invaded the James Richitelli Sr. Gym Monday night for a Class M first-round matchup with No. 15 Jonathan Law and eliminated the Eagles, 3-0.
It marked the second consecutive year the Eagles have been knocked out in the first round. Last season, Law lost to Stratford, 3-1, after failing to make tourney play the year before.
Making few errors and getting at times overpowering net play from Kirstyn Arcata (18 kills) and Krista Iacobucci (16 kills), the Terriers won on game scores of 25-12, 25-19 and 26-24, advancing to a second-round contest with No. 2 Lewis Mills in Burlington.
“I think our nerves got the best of us in quite a few instances tonight,” said head coach Stacy Loch, whose team finished with a 10-12 record.
“The excitement of being here and really wanting to win took a little bit away from us, especially for our seniors who have now played their last game at Jonathan Law.”
Among that group were setter Colleen Bogucki, libero Brooke Bonetti, middle hitter Jenna Bernard, Sarah Gambardella, Christina Macaluso and Becca Minahan-Rowley.
Coming in with a 9-10 record, Rocky Hill never trailed in the opening set.
The Terriers jumped out to a 10-4 lead, steadily increasing that to a 10-point margin at 18-8 on a point by Arcata.
That lead eventually reached 22-11 and the Terriers closed it out when Law committed a net error.
“Quite frankly, I never thought that we’d come in here and sweep,” said Rocky Hill coach Scott Ferguson.
“Historically, Law has a great reputation and they usually always do well in the postseason. Tonight, we played a little over our heads. That was nice to see.”
The Terriers success spilled over into the second game, where they never fell behind. Law managed to pull within a point three times (at 4-3, 9-8 and 12-11), the last coming on a tip for a point by Bogucki.
After that, however, Rocky Hill, after seeing the Eagles draw within three, 22-19, scored the game’s final three points. Iacobucci, one of five seniors, put it away with a kill through the middle of Law’s defense.
Law put up its toughest fight in the third game, taking the initial lead before losing its edge again. The Terriers held a five-point edge, 15-10, and looked to be in command. But Law rallied.
The Eagles grabbed a 21-20 lead and led by two, 23-21, when the Terriers made an unforced error.
Rocky Hill took a 24-23 advantage on another Iacobucci kill, and wrapped up the match with the final two points after Law evened it at 24-24.
“Our record may have been a little bit deceiving because part-way through the year we had a crucial injury when one of our outside hitters, Kelsey Ott, went down,” Ferguson said.
“When she returned, we made her our libero. It shored up our defense. She has been able to save many balls and it improved our offense.”
Ott had 23 digs against Law and never made an error. Setter Emma Skultety had 38 assists.
Bogucki collected 11 assists, Gambardella three kills, Bonetti eight digs, Bernard two kills and two assists and Minahan-Rowley had two digs.
“All in all, it wasn’t a bad year for us,” Loch said. “I don’t think that we were expected to go nearly as far as we did. We played our best match of the year in the second meeting with Foran (a 3-2 road victory).”
Law lost a 3-2 (25-11, 25-23, 22-25, 14-25, 15-6) decision to visiting Stratford High in its regular-season ending match on Oct. 30.
Bogucki had 27 assists, 11 digs and five kills. Bonetti had 14 digs, Minahan-Rowley a pair of digs and Gambardella had eight kills.
Bernard had seven kills and five digs and Macaluso had five kills and five digs.