Girls volleyball: Eagles won over Cadets after switch

Nicole Trommelen was thrust into the spotlight for the 2018 girls volleyball season after Tamara DeBerry decided to step down as Trumbull High’s long-time mentor.

Trommelen, a New Jersey native and former collegiate player at Sacred Heart University who had served in the freshman position at THS for two years, was up to the challenge.

Last Friday night, the Eagles picked up their biggest win of the season with a 3-1 victory over St. Joseph.

For the hosting Cadets, the defending Class M state champions, it was their first FCIAC loss and second of the year overall.

Trumbull, after dropping the first set, 25-16, won out 25-19, 25-19 and 25-14 to improve to 9-3.

St. Joseph is 11-2.

A line-up change for the second set seemed to energize a Trumbull squad which was put under control by coach Jeff Babineau’s Cadets in the opening set.

"Coach T knows what she's doing," said the star of the game, senior outside hitter Krystina Schueler whose booming hits generated a game-high 21 kills along with three blocked shots. "When she switched things around and put some different players out there, those of us still on the court fed off that energy.

"This is just an awesome win. They beat us earlier in the year (3-1 on Sept. 15), so for us to come back and beat them on their court was really great."

Schueler had net support from Julia Roberto, who had 12 kills and a block.

Defensively, Rachel Hage had 12 digs to go along with four assists and two service aces.

Castro turned in a huge night which consisted of 48 assists, 17 digs and two aces.

For St. Joe's, Elena Ball had 15 kills and Jenna Koonitsky added seven.

After a 3-3 deadlock, the Cadets went on a tear in the opening set. Led by the play of Mattison, the Cadets rolled out to a 12-6 lead before pushing it to nine points, 18-9, to win by the same nine-point margin.

"We had a nice start," said Babineau. "Then, for whatever reason, it seems like we forgot that it takes three wins to capture a match. We blocked shots, set well and put balls down in the first set. After that, we went into neutral and stopped playing. That's a sad fact."

After being limited to two kills in the first set, Schueler came out with an explosion in the second set and carried it right through the rest of the match. She had six kills in the second set; and added six more in the third.

"Krystina is a leader out there,"Trommelen said. "The difference between this win and our loss to them the first time amounted to are not sitting back and being complacent. Once we found the right line-up combination, we went on the attack. We got the ball to the net and finished."

Trumbull took a 12-7 lead in the second set only to watch as the Cadets came back to go on top 14-13. A service ace from the Eagles’ Ali Castro started a seven-point run for a 22-15 lead.

The third set was only close, with Trumbull leading 7-6, before the Eagles' service game and Schueler's powerful play at the net allowed them to gain an 18-11 edge.

Trumbull never trailed in the fourth and deciding set.