Girls volleyball: St. Joseph defeats Newtown in five

Megan Robinson sets the ball for St. Joseph in its 3-2 win over Newtown. — Andy Hutchison photo
Megan Robinson sets the ball for St. Joseph in its 3-2 win over Newtown. — Andy Hutchison photo

The St Joseph High girls volleyball team, coming off a season-opening loss to FCIAC rival Greenwich High, put a better match together to defeat host Newtown High 3-2 (24-26, 26-24, 25-15, 15-25, 15-11) on Monday night.

“A key to the win was the play of Megan Robertson,” Cadet coach Jeff Babineau said of his setter, who finished with 32 assists and controlled the floor. “We know Newtown is always a tough opponent and it showed today.”

St. Joseph’s Christine Crocco had 10 kills and a pair of blocks. Elena Ball recorded 11 kills.

Newtown, coming off a loss to Darien High, pulled out a hard-fought first game win before the Cadets returned the favor in game two.

With the scored tied at 23 apiece, the Cadets went in front on a Crocco tip to open space. After Newtown evened the score, Riann Rooney’s kill sent the game to match point where Rooney ended it with a service ace.

In game three, St Joe’s jumped out to 7-0 lead sparked by a pair of aces from captain Melissa Bike. The Cadets never relinquished the lead.

Game four saw Newtown overcome a 15-13 deficit and reel off a dozen unanswered points to force the decisive fifth game. Newtown’s Zoe Beals, who finished with 17 kills and five digs, was vital to the Nighthawk win in game four.

In the winner-take-all game, the teams traded points early on. Ball’s kill made it 7-5 and an errant Newtown hit extended the lead to three. A Beals’ kill brought the Nighthawks back to within two.

The teams traded points on service error and illegal hit, before Crocco ended a long rally with a point for a 10-7 St Joe;s advantage. Rooney finished another rally with a hard-fought point and an 11-7 lead.

Rooney then dropped a shot into the back corner to extend the lead to five. Another ace from Bike made it 13-7. Crocco answered a Newtown point with a shot into open space to bring things to match point at 14-8.

The Nighthawks stayed alive with three unanswered points before an errant hit, a lift, gave the Cadets the victory.

“It’s great to see our team come together and play like we can play,” said Bike, a captain. “Today it felt great to come out on top.”