Girls volleyball: St. Joseph holds off Trumbull Eagles

St. Joseph’s girls volleyball team overcame a first set defeat and fended off a hard-working Trumbull squad to seize a 3-1 (15-25, 25-17, 25-19, 28-26) home win on Saturday.

With the victory, the Cadets took their third straight match to improve to 3-1; the Eagles slipped to 1-1 in contest between FCIAC rivals.

Elena Ball registered 11 kills for coach Jeff Babineau’s Cadets.

Allie Petronchak had a trio of aces and 22 assists in the win.

Katie Spangenberg added six kills and a pair of aces.

Lily Mattison tacked on seven kills and two blocks.

For coach Nicole Trommelen’s Eagles, Krystina Schueler compiled 21 kills to go along with four aces and four blocks.

Bailey Cenatiempo added seven kills, 18 digs and three aces.

Julia Roberto tallied nine kills and had two blocks.

After the Eagles won game one, St. Joe’s dominated in terms of set result but not so much within the flow of play as Trumbull kept things close.

“They’re a great volleyball team. Going in I thought it was 50-50 today,” Babineau said. “We just challenged them to come out with a little bit of heart. We didn’t let the ball touch the floor — a lot of good second passes off bad first passes.”

Those first-pass struggles were a product of Trumbull’s strong service game.

“They were serving pretty hard. We had a hard time with that,” Babineau said.

St. Joe’s turned a 2-2 tie into a 7-2 lead, backed by a trio of Ball kills early in the third set.

The Eagles picked away at the deficit and eventually got to within 9-8 as Schueler and Cenatiempo logged aces.

Then, Roberto’s block for a point deadlocked the score at 9-9.

Mattison’s answer block gave the Cadets a 10-9 lead and St. Joe’s stayed ahead for the remainder of the set.

Trumbull hung close and got to within just a point six more times during the third set, capped by a Schueler kill which made the score 20-19.

The Cadets registered the last five points of the third, culminating with a Petronchak ace.

The run of points included Kaitlin Capobianco’s over-the-head, back-to-the net save, which landed in empty space for a point and a 22-19 lead.

Petronchak picked up right where she left off, logging another ace to begin the fourth set, as St. Joe’s jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead.

The advantage, capped by Spangenberg’s point, swelled to 10-4. Trumbull went on a 5-0 run which ended with an Ali Castro cross-court kill to pull the guests to within 10-9.

Spangenberg rattled off the next three points, prompting a Trumbull timeout.

Jenna Koonitsky’s block at the net got the Cadets rolling again, and they built an 18-11 lead. Maddie Johnson’s kill, just out of the reach of a trio of diving Eagles, made it a seven-point differential and Trumbull took another timeout.

The teams went back and forth and St Joe’s established a 21-13 lead.

Trumbull, sparked by Schueler kills and blocks by Schueler and Lindsay Gibbs, cut deep into the deficit. Lindsey Garrity had an ace, followed by a service point, bringing Trumbull all the way back to within one at 23-22.

Petronchak stopped the bleeding with a point, bringing things to match point.

The Eagles staved off defeat three times: Roberto’s kill evened things at 24; Petronchak’s kill, despite an outstanding diving effort by Garrity made the score 25-24; a service error again tied things.

Side out.

A Trumbull net violation gave the Cadets a 26-25 edge. A long Trumbull hit once again knotted the score. Another violation by the Eagles gave the hosts a 27-26 lead. Capobianco’s save set the stage for Ball’s match-ending blast.

“It was really good to see them fight and not give in,” Trommelen said of her Eagles, who overcame a 6-0 deficit in the first set of the season-opener as well as a late second-set disadvantage against Stamford the day before.

Trumbull prevailed in four. “We were able to battle back and win,” Trommelen said.

She was mostly-pleased with her team’s effort against the Cadets.

“I think, for the most part, we played defense really well. We just need to put the ball away and cut down on errors,” Trommelen said.

The teams will meet again, at Trumbull High, on Oct. 12 in a 5:30 match.