PLAINVILLE - The New Britain girls volleyball team came into Plainville looking to get back on track Monday night, and after being denied of an opportunity to sweep, the young group collected itself to snap a four-match losing skid.
The Hurricanes came back in the fourth set to close out a 3-1 win (25-18, 25-22, 18-25, 25-22) over the winless Blue Devils, ending a drought where New Britain hadn’t won a set since its 3-2 win over Lewis Mills on Oct. 2.
“They have to learn how to win,” Hurricanes head coach Michelle Abraham said. “It’s been a very tough season playing the top teams in the state and they can’t have that attitude like tonight is going to be like all of the other nights. They had an opportunity to compete and they competed.”
Plainville came into the match looking for its first set win and got it with a victory in the third set to avoid a seventh straight sweep to start the season.
“They’re working really hard,” Blue Devils first-year head coach Allie Caponigro said. “At this point we’re just working on keeping the ball off the ground, playing to the whistle and getting after everything. I think this game showed that progress. We may not have gotten the win, but it showed how hard they’re working.”
Plainville battled in the first two sets, erasing early deficits before the Hurricanes took back control. New Britain jumped out to the early lead in the first set behind the serving of Maya Slisz, who sent over an ace to put the Hurricanes ahead 2-0, and a kill by Karolina Giera set up by Audrey Belliveau increased the lead to 4-0.
The Blue Devils trimmed the gap to 10-6 before New Britain got a much-needed kill from Natalia Kownacki, who threw down another moments later to give the Hurricanes another five-point edge at 12-7. But Plainville continued to battle, getting two service aces from Wiktoria Galazyn to cut the deficit to 14-12. New Britain turned to Giera again to find some breathing room and the junior smashed down an untouched kill to push the lead back to 18-14.
“I think we did really good,” Giera said. “I got a lot of good sets from our setter and we showed them what New Britain is really about. We really are hard hitting.”
Plainville kept things close in the second set, tying the score at four apiece after a tough dig from Samantha Thompson and took the lead right after on a service ace from Bella Grasso. The lead grew to 8-5 and back-to-back kills by Galazyn later pushed it to 11-7, prompting a timeout from Abraham.
A Slisz kill out of the timeout set New Britain off on a run to take a 14-11 lead, and Belliveau’s serving helped push the advantage to 21-13 behind the Hurricanes’ second big run of the set. But the Blue Devils wouldn’t go away, getting five straight points to close the gap to 21-18 before a block by Kaylee Cahill secured a big point for New Britain. Plainville, however, continued to battle, getting a service ace from Lillian Wazorko to pull within 23-21, but Wazorko sent a serve out of bounds on her next try to set up a 25-22 victory for the Hurricanes.
Both teams traded blows to start the third set and a Galazyn block up front put Plainville ahead 10-8, then a kill from the left side by Galazyn made it 11-8. Galazyn continued to dominate, getting another kill to extend the lead to 14-10.
“We don’t have any seniors on the floor, so we’re asking our juniors to step up,” Caponigro said. “Wiktoria is working really hard at that and it’s showing. On top of that, she’s got some talent.”
New Britain fought back behind more efficient serving from Belliveau to pull within 16-15. The Blue Devils, behind a service ace from Thompson, got some crucial separation in the form of a 21-17 lead, and a kill by Kimberly Xiques followed by a Hurricanes error gave Plainville its first set victory of the season.
Looking to take back momentum and close out the match, New Britain took the early lead in the fourth set behind a strong kill from Cahill, but the Blue Devils went on a run behind the serving of Wazorko to take a 7-4 lead. Two straight errors by Plainville helped the Hurricanes tie the set at nine, and a kill by Kownacki followed by an ace from Kelly-Alice Alape gave New Britain an 11-9 lead. The Hurricanes maintained their two-point lead through 17-15, and extended it to 19-15 on a service ace from Paula Torres. Torres continued her serving streak to extend New Britain’s lead to 21-15, and the Hurricanes closed out the set, and the match, with two straight blocks by Kownacki.
“In the long run, hopefully this will help us for next year,” Abraham said. “We’ll take the win and move on to Avon next. We beat a team we should beat.”
New Britain 3, Plainville 1
(25-18, 25-22, 18-25, 25-22)
Records: New Britain 2-5, Plainville 0-7.