Girls volleyball: Greenwich captures FCIAC title

The second-seeded Greenwich High girls volleyball team defeated top-seeded St. Joseph, 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 25-18) in the FCIAC championship match at Fairfield Ludlowe on Saturday.

“We wanted to write our story here,” Greenwich head coach Steve Lapham said of his team’s accomplishment. “I’m thrilled for the girls. They haven’t had a home gym and had to bus to the middle school to practice. We were serving well and kept the ball in play.”

Greenwich ended St. Joseph’s 20-match win streak, including 3-0 and 3-2 victories over the Cardinals, and extended its own skein to 15 consecutive triumphs.

“They came to play today,” St. Joseph head coach Jeff Babineau said. “We were on our heels all match. They were the better team today. I’m sad  (for the Cadet players), but we have states starting next week.”

The Big Red’s Maggy Egan was named Tournament MVP, after the senior sliced and diced from her outside hitter position. Egan  finished the match with 21 kills and 7 aces.

“Maggy is a four-year starter and was fabulous today,” Lapham said. “She was a setter as a freshman, then we moved her to outside right and now the left.

"Maggy hit the one-six gap, and that is what we needed. Their libero (Kaitlin Capobianco) is special and we wanted to stay away from her.”

Greenwich, now 18-4 overall, took a 15-10 lead after one service rotation behind the hitting of Tara Ford (19 kills) and Erika Hauschild (6 kills).

St. Joseph (22-2) drew within two points on three occasions, but never closer.

“We never could get that one service run to put us over the top,” Babineau said. “We had played and scouted Greenwich and knew it would be a challenge. They hit the ball very well and we did not react quickly enough.”

Hauschild’s spike to the sideline gave GHS its 25-20 win in the first set.

In the second game, the Cadets were led by setter Grace Vocalina’s ability to take passes from Capobianco (23 digs) and put the ball in position for Bridget Fatse (eight kills), Christina Crocco (8 kills) and Jenna Koonitsky (7 kills) to finish.

St. Joseph had leads of 3-0, 6-3 and 9-6.

With Egan scoring on back sets and sets to the back row, Greenwich rallied behind Nicole Woods’ five-point service run to go in front 11-10 after one rotation.

Adnerys De Jesus (26 digs), Hauschild and Woods (45 assists) had multiple-point runs and the Cardinals cruised in the second set to a 25-15 win.

Egan served her team to a 3-0 lead in the third set, and the Big Red maintained that edge for one rotation and bettered it when Egan served four more points for a 15-6 advantage.

Amelia Bartlett and Carolina Lew also got the job done from the stripe, before Egan posted consecutive aces to end the run to the title.

“Winning (the FCIAC title) means so much to us,” Egan said of GHS’ seven seniors. “To me, volleyball is the ultimate team sports and I love the connection you make with your teammates. Today, our passing from the back row allowed Nicole to find any one of our hitters.

“We were worried about St. Joseph; they had beaten us twice. But we studied tape. It came down to us playing with heart and executing. That we owe to Coach Lapham. He is the best.”