STRATFORD - The Southington girls volleyball team will have to wait another year to see the championship round of the Class LL tournament.
The Blue Knights fell 3-1 (14-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-14) against sixth-seeded Greenwich Wednesday evening in the state semifinals.
The Cardinals will advance to the championship match to play the fifth-seeded Amity.
“I don’t know [what happened],” Southington head coach Richard Heitz said. “The first set we played really well, but we gave some points up at the end. We gave them momentum and we just never grabbed it back.
“It was like there were two different teams. We had the intensity the first set and we just didn’t follow through [in] two, three and four.”
Steph Zera lead the Blue Knights with 40 assists, while Nolyn Allen recorded 18 digs and Sarah Myrick had 11 kills.
The Cardinals never had the chance to surpass the Blue Knights in the first set.
Southington was able to get an early 1-0 lead. Greenwich answered back with two back-to-back service points, but that’s as close as they would get before the Blue Knights responded with a four-point run.
Southington continued with runs of seven and five to bring the score to 24-8. The Blue Knights were about to put the final point away, but not before Greenwich responded with five straight points.
The Cardinals served the ball out of bounds, giving the final point and first set to Southington, 25-14.
The second set was a bit tougher for the Blue Knights. It was the Cardinals who would receive the first service points of the match, gaining an early 3-0 lead.
Despite the Blue Knights constantly coming back, the Cardinals were able to find momentum for a four-point run, giving them an 11-7 lead. Southington was able to get in two runs of three to tie the game at 16. From there on out it was a battle of who could get the points first.
“Well, it started off really good,” Allen said. “And then, we started playing safe. When it started to get tight, people started to panic a little bit and that happens with a good, high-pressure game.”
A four-point run provided Greenwich with some insurance, taking the second set 25-19.
As the third set rolled around, the Cardinals jumped ahead with an early 6-2 lead. Greenwich controlled a majority of the set. It wasn’t until back-to-back spikes from Southington’s Sarah Myrick that the momentum swung for the Blue Knights, but it wasn’t enough.
The Cardinals continued with a five-point run to increase their lead to 20-14.
The Blue Knights scored four unanswered points to bring them within three (21-18), but Greenwich pushed ahead, claiming the third set 25-21.
In the fourth and final set, the Cardinals made sure the Blue Knights never had a chance, jumping out on an enormous seven-point run to start the set.
Southington only scored once more before Greenwich had another six-point run for some insurance, leading 14-5.
A pair of two-point runs and a three-point run put the Blue Knights within five (17-12), but the Cardinals had their last seven-point run to end the fourth set, 25-14.
“We just started playing it safe with our serves, our communication, who had what. We just kind of broke down, but it happens,” Allen said.