BRISTOL - The Bristol Eastern girls volleyball team needed nearly three sets to get comfortable against Avon in the first round of the CCC Region B tournament Monday.
The Lancers recovered from a two-set deficit to defeat the Falcons 3-2 (23-25, 21-25, 25-19, 25-7, 15-13). They move on to play Thursday against the winner between Bristol Central and Farmington, which plays Tuesday at 6 p.m.
“The girls really regrouped and did what they needed to do,” Eastern head coach Stefanie Reay said. “When they start playing really as a team, especially in the fourth set, they played like they know they’re capable of playing.”
The Lancers found a new gear in the fourth set and forced a fifth set with little issue winning 25-7. They fixed many of the technical problems they struggled with and put together a much more consistent performance.
“After [the third] game we were like, ‘wow we have to win in two,’” Eastern senior Zoe Lowe said. “We fought back so hard, we did what we knew we could do and kept them under 10 [points] in that game. It was absolutely amazing and we won the [final] two sets.”
The fifth set did not come easy for Eastern either as the two teams exchanged serve basically until the final points when the Lancers were able to hang on for the win.
“There are certain things we can control and there are things that we can’t control,” Reay said. “When we’re making the mistakes, we can control that, and the girls realized that, and that’s when they changed their mentality.”
Avon was in control for most of the first set, building a lead as large as seven points (21-14). With some defensive adjustments, the Lancers tied the match 23-23 but were unable to complete the comeback as the Falcons regained serve and capped off the set with a Kelli Raines spike.
Avon took a 6-3 lead early in the set and protected it all the way to the end. Eastern consistently chipped away, but never came closer than a tie.
The Lancers fell behind 5-0 to start the second set and were never able to recover. Plagued by inconsistent spikes and serves, they were unable to maintain serve long enough to slow the Falcons down.
Eastern scored first in the third set and was able to stay ahead of Avon consistently. The Falcons took a timeout when the Lancers went up 20-15 and made a small push afterwards, but the Lancers’ offense prevailed and Hannah Webber put an exclamation point on the set with an emphatic play at the net to finish it.
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or email@example.com
BRISTOL EASTERN 3, AVON 2
(23-25, 21-25, 25-19, 25-7, 15-13)
At Bristol Eastern
Records: Bristol Eastern 12-0, Avon 8-5.