MERIDEN — The Wilcox Tech volleyball team’s comeback fell just short in the CTC Tournament semifinals on Thursday night.
Trailing 2-0 after two sets, the Indians rallied to push Goodwin Tech to the five-game limit but, ultimately, the Gladiators won 3-2 at the Joseph Schiopucie Gymnasium.
Game scores were 25-18, 25-12, 18-25, 16-25 and 15-13.
With the win, Goodwin Tech (18-4) advanced to Saturday’s final at St. Joseph University at 6 p.m. Wilcox came away at 17-5 and will next play in the Class M state tournament.
Nyssa Foster-De Oro capped the match with a block for the visitors. The 6-foot junior had a match-high six blocks.
The Tribe held a 13-11 advantage in the fifth game, but the Gladiators won the final four points behind the serving of senior Korina Trammell.
After two sets, the conference semi didn’t look like it would come down to all of that. Goodwin, which had dispatched Wilcox 3-0 during the regular season, bolted to big leads Thursday in the first two sets.
The Gladiators led 10-3 in the initial set behind a pair of aces from Adaneysi Guzman and a block and kill from Foster-De Oro.
The Tribe showed signs of life with a brief 6-3 spurt that included a pair of kills from junior Sacaria Cooper, but it was Goodwin in the opening game and that momentum carried over into the second set. Goodwin jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead.
Wilcox responded with a big run to tie the match 9-9 as Cooper added two more kills in the middle. Senior libero Jocelyn Rosado came off the Wilcox bench and contributed to the surge with several tough digs.
No sooner had the Indians tied the score than Goodwin responded with a 12-0 run to go up 21-9. Junior Tabetha Trammell (16 service points) provided the serving with five aces during that run as the Gladiators went up 2-0.
It was the Indians who responded in Game 3. The Tribe blitzed to a 7-2 advantage behind the serving of junior Montgomery Rios.
The CTC foes went back and forth through the middle of the set. The Indians held a 14-13 lead and went on an 8-2 run as Chloe LaBissoniere, who smacked a match-high 20 kills, really started to establish herself. The senior had four kills in the latter part of that game as the Indians stayed alive.
LaBissoniere had seven more kills in a dominant Game 4 for Wilcox. Rios had three early aces as the Indians jumped out to an instant 5-0 lead. Later in the set, the Indians exploded for a 12-3 run that included four kills by LaBissoniere.
Senior Carley Rich served six straight points during that uprising. Also during that big run, Cooper slammed into the scorer’s table to save a point the Indians would ultimately win.
Goodwin jumped to a 6-2 lead in the decisive Game 5. Victoria Logodicio had two successful push volleys and LaBissoniere added a block as Wilcox answered to tie it at 8-8.
The Gladiators took the next three points. An ace by Tabetha Trammell put Goodwin up, 11-8.
The Indians, like they did all night, responded. Rios served a 5-0 run as the Indians went up 13-11. She had an ace and Logodicio set up a LaBissoniere slam as the Tribe looked to be in charge.
However, Goodwin coach Joe Granja called a timeout and his team scored the final four points to advance to Saturday’s final.
“We started out slow,” Wilcox coach Sue Planinshek said. “We didn’t have our mojo going; I’ve seen us play better. We came back, but we just couldn’t finish it. They hustled, but it just wasn’t enough. They are a scrappy team and are always hustling to the ball, but they just out-scrapped us tonight.”
The Gladiators are in search of their fourth conference tournament championship in school history. They last reached the CTC final in 2017.
“It was a battle,” Granja said. “Wilcox Tech gave us a battle. After they went down 2-0 to us and we played well the first two games, but we let them back in it. They battled, but we worked hard in the end. Sometimes it’s just survive and advance.”SCC Tournament
Shelton 3, Cheshire 2: The second-seeded Gaels rallied from a 2-1 deficit to dethrone third-seeded Cheshire in a semifinal in Shelton.
Cheshire was the defending champ.
The Rams seemed on the verge of advancing to Saturday’s final in East Haven after rebounding from a 25-19 setback in Game 1 with 25-20 and 25-23 wins in the second and third sets.
Shelton stayed alive with a 25-22 in Game 4, then won the decisive fifth 15-13.
The Rams were led by setter Emma Watkinson, outside hitter Lindsey Abramson and libero Ari Perlini.
Watkinson piled up 37 assists while also recording eight kills, four digs and three aces. Abramson put down 18 kills and five aces on offense and factored into the defense with seven digs. Perlini had a team-high 29 digs.
Shelton (18-3) will take on top-seeded Guilford in Saturday’s final. Cheshire (16-5) will next play in the Class LL state tournament.