CIAC VOLLEYBALL: Cheshire sweeps into Class LL semis

CIAC VOLLEYBALL: Cheshire sweeps into Class LL semis

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CHESHIRE – The top seeded Cheshire girls volleyball team is back in the Class LL semifinals.

The Rams dispatched No. 8 Glastonbury in straight-set fashion at homeSaturday night by game scores of 25-20, 27-25 and 25-16.

Cheshire (23-0) was led by the balanced offensive attack of Elena Piran, Brady McQuade and Meagan Clyne. Piran piled up 13 kills, eight digs and two blocks.

Setter Karly Pedbereznak was also spot on all day with 14 assists, five digs, three aces and two kills. Michelle Frenkel chipped in with 13 assists, eight digs and an ace.

“We did what we needed to do,” Cheshire coach Sue Bavone said. “We held our serve when we needed to and we sided out when we needed to. We kept a good pace.”

Game 1 was a back-and-forth contest. Cheshire had leads of 16-12 and 18-14. Eventually, the match was tied 20-20 when the Rams scored the final points to earn the 25-20 game.

McQuade served the final six points, including an ace, and Piran had the game-winning kill to finish off a five-kill opening set. Clyne and Jenny Wang also had kills in the decisive run.

Game 2 was a thriller, with the Rams staving off one Glastonbury set-point to win 27-25. Clyne provided the clincher with a block.

Earlier in the set, Cheshire had bolted out to a 13-6 advantage. Glastonbury responded with a 5-0 run to get back within 13-11 and force a Cheshire timeout.

Behind leading attacker Sydney Tennyson (3 kills, 3 blocks), Kelly Norman (5 kills) and Paige Dalicandro (15 assists),  the Tomahawks (16-6) went on a 6-0 uprising to take a 20-19 lead.

Cheshire responded with back-to-back kills by Piran and McQuade to go back up 21-20.

Victoria Coughlan’s ace gave the Tomahawks set point at 24-23, but a missed serve squared the score again.

Meagan Clyne had a kill for Cheshire to put the Rams up 25-24. Glastonbury responded again to tie it. After a Glastonbury error, Clyne sealed Game 2 with her block.

“Clyne needed a big game,” Bavone said. “She didn’t play her best volleyball against Stamford, but she did a really good job tonight.”

Game 3 was never in doubt for Cheshire. Karly Pedbereznak had three straight aces as the Rams bolted to a 6-0 lead and never looked back.

“Our serving was great and it has come up big for us all year,” Bavone said. “Regardless of the serving, I thought all of our hitters were strong. Elena is shouldering a lot of the load. She gives us a little bit of everything. She’s a smart player and she’s stepping up at a time where we really needed it.”

Pedbereznak said the Rams hit the court with a purpose because it was their final home game of the year.

“We came out just as tough as they did and we kept our tough serves,” Pedbereznak said. “It’s an amazing to be moving on to the semifinals.”

Cheshire won despite being without one of its top players, Lindsey Abramson. The sophomore went down with a leg injury in Cheshire’s win on Thursday against Stamford. She watched Saturday night’s match on crutches. An MRI on Monday will reveal the extent her injury.

This was the final home match for the Cheshire seniors.

“It’s really sad,” McQuade said. “It was a good game and against good competition. We’ve had a great season and we want to keep having a great season.

Cheshire will now play SCC rival Amity, the No. 5 seed, in the Class LL semifinals on Wednesday at a site and time to be announced. Cheshire won the two regular-season meetings with the Spartans, 3-1 and 3-0.

“It’s tournament time,” Bavone said. “Everybody is fighting to stay alive. I’m sure Amity is going to come out different this third time and we are going to be different because we don’t have Lindsey. But we are going to have to try to do what we did tonight and play from ahead as much as we can and see what happens.”

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