WEDNESDAY VOLLEYBALL: Farmington hands Platt a measuring stick

WEDNESDAY VOLLEYBALL: Farmington hands Platt a measuring stick


MERIDEN — The graduation of slugging leader Genesis Cora elicits a new beginning for the Platt girls volleyball team and the early season prognosis has been positive with a pair of shutouts.

But visiting Farmington offered a different kind of test on Wednesday night. The Indians haven’t lost a regular-season divisional game since 2012 and finished second to RHAM in both the CCC and Class L tournaments last year.

Coach Lou Gianacopolos now has a measuring stick after Farmington administered a 3-0 drubbing on the Panthers in an interdivisional match between previously unbeaten squads at the newly refurbished Henry Zaleski Gym. Game scores were 25-19, 25-13, 25-15.

“Farmington is a solid team and the two games we had before were not of this caliber,” Gianacopolos said. “Knowing we had this game coming up, it’s a great moment in time to see where we are today. It gives you something to work on. The intensity of what we’re going to work on is going to go up now.”

The first set began with a great defensive stand by the Panthers that forced Farmington (3-0) into a net violation. But even with a run of three missed serves by the visitors, their well-polished offense forged a pathway to a 10-6 lead.

Kiara Lopez (8 of Platt’s 15 kills, 10 digs) slammed down three kills and Caitlin Hart (13 assists, 12 digs, 3 aces) delivered an ace to close the gap to two but Farmington surged back in command. Hitting mistakes, most of them on hits that went past the end line, blunted the Panthers’ effort.

Platt played without libero Lilly Montana most of the way, one reason for the offensive struggles. The offense lacked cohesion at times, but that’s what happens when all-league players like Cora graduate.

“You can’t pin [the loss] on any one player but we all have jobs and responsibilities,” Gianacopolos said. “When our job gets away from us, we have to be confident enough to get right back into it and move forward. We’re a little inexperienced in confidence but it will come.”

Platt’s search for an upset deteriorated rapidly and decisively in the second set. Farmington hitters Caroline Summa, Chardae Saunders, Isabel Wagner, Julia Conturso and Kelly Swidorsky (4 blocks) kept thumping away at the small but resolute Platt defense until it cracked.

Farmington, through years of development under coach Laura Arena, has become dynastic. The Indians graduated six starters from last year’s team.

“When my offense does run, we have some girls who can do some damage,” Arena said. “I thought our passing was a little off but we have a tremendous libero in Carolyn Piera. We’re a young group. There are juniors and seniors but they’re young in varsity experience. I think we have a lot of potential.”

The Panthers (2-1) held up better in game three.

They took a 3-0 lead on the strength of Hart’s serving and setting, and some big hits from Lopez. It was even at 9 when the Farmington offense began to wear down the Panthers again on the way to a convincing margin.

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