THURSDAY SCHOLASTICS: Cheshire punches two more CIAC quarterfinal tickets; Southington awaits in volleyball on Saturday night

CHESHIRE — This may be the Chinese Year of the Rat. In the CIAC fall tournaments, it is the Season of the Ram.

In a replay of Wednesday, Cheshire put two more teams in the state quarterfinals on Thursday — one as a favorite, one in upset fashion.

The boys soccer team, just like its female counterpart, had the upset. The No. 13 Rams rode a pair of goals from Marcello Pannone to a 2-1 second-round Class LL victory at No. 4 Greenwich in the afternoon.

Several hours later, the top-seeded Cheshire volleyball team stormed onto its home court and swept No. 17 New Canaan 25-18, 25-17 and 25-18 in the second round of that Class LL tournament.

Add it up and, over the next two days, Cheshire will have four teams playing in state quarterfinals — boys and girls soccer on the road, field hockey and volleyball at home.

The marquee quarterfinal? How about Southington-Cheshire in volleyball on Saturday at 6 p.m.

The No. 8 Blue Knights advanced to the backyard showdown by sweeping No. 9 Glastonbury 3-0 in their second-round match Thursday night. Southington won 25-17, 25-11, 25-16 at home.

The victory puts coach Rich Heitz’s team at 18-5. Coach Sue Bavone’s Rams are a spotless 23-0.

Against Glastonbury (17-6), Southington got a remarkable outing from freshman Alyssa Ferreira. The rookie racked up 10 kills, six digs and five aces. All were team highs.

Ferreira’s older sister Gabby returned to action from a concussion and put up seven kills and two aces.

Cami Wessels (6 kills) and Morgan Birdsey (5) also got in on the attack as setter Haley Weiner dealt 27 assists.

Weiner also chalked up five digs, as did Emma Pfanzelt.

Meanwhile, in the all-Rams battle in Cheshire, the home team eliminated New Canaan (11-9) behind setter Grace Downing’s 17 assists, four digs and two aces.

SCC Player of the Year Avery Mola led the offense with 11 kills. SCC Tournament MVP Tori Santi led the defense with 10 digs. Santi also planted four aces.


Tess Givens was the rock up front with four blocks. Jenna Stickney added seven kills.

By the time Southington and Cheshire take the floor on Saturday night, it will cap a busy 27 hours for the Rams.

The girls soccer team gets the quarterfinal mashup rolling Friday afternoon at Fairfield Ludlowe. Coach Kylee McIntosh’s No. 14 Rams are 11-6-1 after toppling No. 3 Glastonbury 2-1 on Wednesday.

It was one in a flurry of second-round upsets in the Class LL girls soccer bracket. No. 6 Ludlowe (12-3-2) is the highest remaining seed.

The opposite is true in the Class LL boys soccer bracket. No. 13 Cheshire is the lone interloper after knocking off No. 4 Greenwich. All the other top eight seeds, led by No. 1 Xavier, have advanced to the quarterfinals.

Cheshire (12-5-2) never trailed against Greenwich (13-3-3). Just under 12 minutes into the game, Murphy Malone, working on the left side, flicked a ball in front and Pannone was there to knock it home.

Then, 1:32 into the second half, Pannone headed home a free kick from Samir Dishnica to push the lead to 2-0.

Greenwich did halve the gap. Alejandro Rodriguez San Pedro scored off an assist from Christopher Valladares, but Cheshire goalie Andres Diosa and the defense made the lead stand up with a seven-save performance.

On Saturday, coach Artur Branco and his Rams will hit the road to take on No. 5 Norwalk (14-2-2). Game time is TBA.

Coach Kya O’Donnell and her field hockey Rams get things rolling early Saturday at 10:30 a.m. No. 4 Cheshire (16-3-1) hosts No. 5 Glastonbury (13-1-2-1). The Rams are coming off a 4-0 win over Enfield.

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