WALLINGFORD — The Lyman Hall girls volleyball team erased an eight-point deficit in Game 4 to sink rival Sheehan 3-1 in a SCC crossover contest at Lyman Hall on Tuesday night.
Ellery Campbell delivered the match-winning kill with with an assist from Nicole Albert and the Lyman Hall faithful celebrated the win.
Game scores were 25-23, 13-25, 25-18 and 25-22. It was the season opener for both squads.
“We walked in with an agenda to be aggressive with our serving and to get as many swings as we can,” first-year LH coach Marion Kish said. “It was a fantastic way to start the year. I think they fought really hard. I think that’s going to be the name of the game — to be scrappy and aggressive — for the rest of the season.”
The win broke Sheehan dominance over the past two years. The Titans had won the last four volleyball meetings betwen the rivals.
The decisive Game 4 was all Sheehan in the early going. The Titans bolted to a 15-7 lead with kills by Caitlyn Hunt and a block by Lydia Dellipoali.
However, Lyman Hall answered with a 9-0 run served by MacKenzie Regan (5 aces, 3 blocks) and pulled ahead 16-15.
“Mac went up to the service line and she has a competiive personality,” Kish said. “She brought us back with her serves.”
Sheehan senior libero Emily Musso (15 digs, 3 aces) was responsible for the next three points with a kill and two aces as the Titans went back up 18-15.
Down the stretch, Sheehan clawed within 23-22, but Lyman Hall ended the match with a kill by Regan, assisted by Alyssa Dodge, and then Campbell (7 kills, 10 digs) applied the exclamation point.
“It was huge,” Albert said. “We haven’t beaten Sheehan since my freshman year. We have really come together as a team and connected as a family. When we fell behind (in Game 4), I was skeptical we were going to win. But we came back strong. It was nice to come back and come out with a strong win.”
The season debut started with a thriller in Game 1.
Lyman Hall freshman libero Mackenzie Grady emerged on the scene with a blistering jump serve. With LH holding a slim 24-23 advantage, she served an ace to give the Trojans a one-game lead.
Early in Game 1, Albert served LH to a 5-1 lead. Sheehan responded with the serving of setter Carrie Sarracini (13 assists). The visitors’ 4-0 run to tie was capped by an emphatic kill by sophomore middle Caitlyn Hunt (7 kills).
LH responded with a 6-1 run that included kills by Eryka West (6 kills, 4 digs) and Campbell.
The Trojans led 11-6, forcing Sheehan coach Victoria Sperrazza to call a timeout. Her team responded with a 11-3 run to go up 17-14.
Turnabout was fair play, as the Trojans called a timeout to stem the Titans’ momentum. The 17-14 deficit quickly turned into 23-19 LH lead with some more stellar serving from Albert, who totaled two aces in four service points. The rally was capped by an Albert kill and a combined block by Campbell and Anastasia Pezza.
Sheehan responded with four straight points from Hunt, who tallied a pair of aces, the last tying the match at 23. Following a Sheehan net violation, Grady stepped behind the line to end Game 1.
The second game was much different. Sheehan was more on point and Lyman Hall more mistake prone. The hosts used kills by Pezza and West to go up 6-1, but Sheehan ripped off a 20-3 run that put a quick end to Game 2. The set concluded on a Hunt ace.
The Trojans bounced back in Game 3. They jumped out to a 11-6 lead with kills by Pezza and Campbell.
Sperrazza called a timeout and her team regrouped with a 4-0 run, powered by a pair of kills by Hunt and an ace by Musso.
However, the hosts responded with a 7-2 rush to go up 18-12, forcing Sperrazza to exhaust her final timeout of the game. That LH run included a block by West, a kill by Dodge and an Albert ace.
Any notion of a Sheehan comeback in Game 3 was quelled by three missed serves. MacKenzie Regan served out the game for LH with an ace.
Sperrazza, a second-year coach at Sheehan, said that Lyman Hall, 5-15 last season, wanted it more on Tuesday night. The Titans are coming off of a 13-12 campaign.
“It was tough — pretty frustrating to be honest,” Sperrazza said. “But you have to give credit to Lyman Hall. Marion has done a great job. They went for every ball and we came out a little scared.
“We are starting three sophomores, so it was a little more challenging and many of them haven’t haven’t seen varsity time before. We worked hard, but Lyman Hall worked harder and really wanted it, and I couldn’t pull that out of my girls.”