Trumbull volleyball tops Amity, advances to Class LL title game for 2nd time in 4 years

MILFORD – Maggie Carley usually closes her eyes when she goes to block a shot.

By the time she opened them on the winning point Wednesday night and looked around, the ball fell to the hardwood to her left on the opposite side of the net. Then the Trumbull senior captain was ambushed by her teammates.

That winning point, a block on a shot by Alexa Bonato gave Trumbull a 3-1 victory (25-22, 24-26, 25-14, 27-25) over seventh-seeded Amity in the CIAC Class LL girls’ volleyball semifinals at Jonathan Law High School.

“I felt the ball touch my hand and I turned around thinking it ricocheted off me and the play was going to keep going,” Carley said. “Then all my teammates came piling on top of me.”

Fourteenth seeded Trumbull (20-7), which won its only state volleyball title in 2019, will get a shot at its second crown in four years, but it will meet FCIAC rival and top-seeded Darien (25-0) for the Class LL championship at 10 a.m. Saturday at East Haven High School. Darien, which edged Trumbull, 3-2, in a classic FCIAC final on Nov. 5, swept Southington, 3-0, in the other Class LL semifinal Wednesday night.

“We want to play Darien,” Carley said. “We’ve been rooting for them on the other side of the bracket. They are our best competition and we want to play at the highest level possible.”

Amity took control early in the first set, but Trumbull had other ideas. The Eagles rallied from being down 13-7 by scoring 18 of the final 27 points to win the set on a kill by junior Ariana Gjonbalaj.

“We’ve been working a lot on having steady energy,” Carley said. “We struggled early in the season on getting down and not being able to come back, so we focused on working on that.”

Trumbull coach Nicole Trommelen reminded her Eagles throughout the early stages of the game.

“We told then one point at a time,” Trommelen said. “It’s a long match and games aren’t won and lost by the first couple points. It was us being able to fight back and knowing we had it in us.”

Amity evened things up in the second set. Trumbull couldn’t get the ball over the net when it was tight on the far sideline, giving the Spartans the victory.

The Eagles controlled the third set from the very start. They took leads of 8-3 and 19-9 en route to a 25-14 win. It ended when a kill attempt from the right side was way long and went out of bounds behind the Trumbull end line.

The fourth game was back and forth throughout with Amity taking a 13-10 edge halfway through. But the Eagles slowly chipped away at that deficit, finally tying it at 19-19.

After that neither team had more than a two-point lead and they went extra points deadlocked at 25-25.

“I was telling my girls not to pay attention to the score,” Amity coach Seth Davis said. “Just worry about the point you’re playing.”

Roth gave the Eagles a one-point lead with a cross-court kill, before Carley’s block ended the set and the game.

“We knew Amity had it in them to fight,” Trommelen said. “They were down 2-0 to Cheshire in the quarterfinals and never gave up. It was important for us to win game four. We didn’t want to give them any chance to keep going.”

Amity (22-5) was trying to reach the state finals with a shot at the 12th title for the school.

“No loss is a good loss, but we played great towards the end of the season,” Davis said. “We have a lot of people coming back, but I feel bad for the seniors. It’s a tough one to lose.”

TRUMBULL 3, AMITY 1

(25-22, 24-26, 25-14, 27-25)

(at Jonathan Law)

Trumbull – Sammi Agostin, 9 kills; Maggie Carley, 4 kills, 1 block, 13 digs and 50 assists; Arian Gjonbalaj, 11 kills; Julia Grillo, 18 digs and 2 assists; Camdyn Roth, 14 kills and 13 digs. Amity – Alexa Bonato, 21 kills, 10 digs and 44 assists; Elena Lupoli, 14 assists, 12 digs and 3 kills; Lea Barber, 25 assists, 6 kills and 4 digs; Nyeela Miller, 9 kills and 20 assists.

Records: Trumbull, 20-7; Amity, 22-5.