BRISTOL – The Bristol Eastern girls volleyball team eased past Plainville, 3-0, during the first round of the CCC Tournament on Monday at Eastern.
The Lancers began the contest on a 19-0 run and never looked back as they won each set by at least nine points.
“We did a really nice job of playing a team game, which is something we've been working very hard on, and staying focused,” Eastern coach Stefanie Reay said. “But they were also light-hearted and relaxed, which is a great combination.”
Hannah Webber starred for the hosts once again with 24 kills and seven aces in the sweep, while Lauren Bender (five kills, six assists, six digs) and Abby Jones (22 assists) helped the Lancers to advance to the second round. Eastern took the sets by scores of 25-4, 25-16 and 25-11.
“Hannah Webber, she always does a nice job,” Reay said. “Alyssa Adorno from the service line did a fantastic job and serve-receiving. Lauren Bender, outside, she did a nice job today too. All around the girls are doing fantastic, every single one of them is contributing at every point.”
The Blue Devils never really gave themselves a chance after its slow start, however they responded positively in the second set with the closest game of the match. Plainville lost to Eastern, 3-0, earlier in the season and that loss caused the Blue Devils to come out a bit more cautious than coach Alle Caponigro would have liked this time around.
“We struggle a little bit when there's a stigma that a team is automatically better than us,” Caponigro said. “We struggle to get over that mentally. The first game, we obviously saw that happen. We were able to combat it a little bit better in the second game. Then I think by the third game they're so beaten down that it's just a tough thing to come back from.
“We as a program have to learn to be a little bit more mentally tough when we're going against a team that statistically has been a better team,” Caponigro said. “That's something that we're working on, hopefully when we move to the state tournament we'll have gotten there.”
Now eliminated from the CCC Tournament, Plainville will have just less than a week to prepare for its first state tournament appearance since 2016 when it opens the first round next Monday, Nov. 8.
The Lancers will play the winner of Conard and Platt on Tuesday and with postseason action ramping up, Eastern strives to keep the approach simple.
“Just improving a little bit every day,” Reay said on the focus of the team at this point. “And really working on playing a calm, consistent game.”
Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.