BRISTOL - The Bristol Eastern girls volleyball team closed out their season on a high note and finished the year undefeated with a 3-0 sweep of Farmington on Thursday night in the final of the CCC Region B postseason.
The Lancers closed out the year with a 13-0 record and senior Zoe Lowe became the first person in school history to record 1,000 career kills. She finished the match with 16 kills and eight digs.
Coming off of a tightly contested five-set match against Avon on Monday in which they had to win the final three sets, the Lancers were determined to put together a cleaner performance to complete the undefeated run and won by set scores of 25-20, 25-13 and 25-17.
“I think they came out with fire for sure,” head coach Stefanie Reay said. “Having so many seniors, knowing it’s their last game, they knew they had control over how they ended their season. They knew how they wanted to end it and they showed that when they went out their tonight.”
Ready to go right from the start, Eastern took control early with a 7-3 lead and carried that to win the first set by five. The Lancers played far more consistently than they did at the start of their last match, scoring with accurate passing and finishing with a variety of players.
“We definitely wanted to do things better,” senior Leah Chipman said. “We knew Farmington had improved since when we played them last time. They’re definitely a tournament team, so we came in here knowing we had to compete. So we definitely came in here with that mindset of ‘we’re not going to go down without a fight,’ so we definitely pushed ourselves.”
Chipman orchestrated the passing for the Lancers and finished with 36 assists as well as five digs.
The Lancers’ play ascended in the second set, scoring first off of a service ace from Emma Rodjenski and building that into an 11-3 advantage. They made the most of their serving opportunities, going on large runs nearly each time they gained serve.
With senior Sage Scarritt still quarantining, they appeared more prepared to play without her in this match. Eastern struggled to close out the set on a couple of points, but consecutive spikes from Lowe put the team in position for another sweep.
“Having two practices before the game to practice our new rotation made a big difference,” Reay said. “We had to switch our rotation before the Avon game with two hours before the game. The girls that stepped in, after they got some reps, got a little more comfortable. They did what they needed to do, they did a fantastic job.”
Eastern won eight straight points at the start of the third set after falling down 2-0. The Lancers continued to play well around the net in scoring opportunities, but the run was highlighted by a serve from Rodjesnki that tricked most of the Farmington players into thinking it was going out of bound, only for it to land landed firmly in the back right corner of the court for one of her eight aces in the match. Lowe posted one final spike to regain serve and put Eastern one point away from victory and an unforced error from Farmington ended it.
“Last year we had an undefeated season, but we couldn’t follow through with it,” Chipman said. “I feel like this year we definitely wanted to finish it. We worked hard for this, we just definitely wanted it.”
With the season over, Reay will look forward to next year with the hopes of playing a complete season.
“Our seniors have truly done an amazing job of supporting and basically helping me coach the younger girls by modeling the behavior, by modeling how to hit, how to set,” Reay said. “But also by talking to them and giving them feedback. They’ve built a program that’s going to keep moving up. Even though they’re moving on, the other girls are going to step right in because they know what the older girls expect, they know what I expect and everything is in line.”
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
BRISTOL EASTERN 3, FARMINGTON 0
(25-20, 25-13, 25-17)
At Bristol Eastern
Highlights: Zoe Lowe (BE) 16 kills, 8 digs; Ryley Plourde (BE) 8 kills; Leah Chipman (BE) 36 assists, 5 digs; Emma Rodjenski (BE) 2 kills, 8 aces; Lucy Winiarski (BE) 7 digs.
Records: Bristol Eastern 13-0, Farmington 9-4.