Girls volleyball: Trumbull out lasts St. Joseph, 3-2

Monday’s all-Trumbull high school girls volleyball clash was a tightly-contested, back-and-forth battle from the start.

In the end, host Trumbull edged St Joseph 3-2 (26-24, 23-25, 25-22, 20-25, 15-12).

“Every game was down to the wire,” St Joe’s coach Jeff Babineau said. “I believe it’s going to help us in the long run.”

It was the season opener for the Eagles, and the Cadets fell to 1-1.

This was the first of two matchups between the FCIAC rivals, and counted only in the state standings. The rematch, set for Oct. 13, will have more on the line, since it will impact the FCIAC standings and seedings.

Trumbull’s blocking skills at the net were a difference-maker in this match. Riley Chase, Krystina Schueler and Julia Roberto combined for 18 blocks.

Chase added 14 kills, Schueler had 10 kills, and Roberto added a trio of kills. Jess Gibbs tallied 11 kills, eight digs and 11 service points.

“They rose to the occasion,” Trumbull coach Tamara DeBerry said. “They blocked really well as a team. They played as a team. They played as a unit. I couldn’t be happier.”

The Cadets were led by Grace Vocalina with 35 assists, one kill and one block, Elena Ball with a dozen kills, and Bridget Fatse who compiled 17 kills, three aces and one block.

Babineau thought some physical and mental mistakes on the part of his team were costly, and is hopeful that it can be chalked up to early-season rustiness.

“We really hurt ourselves,” he said.

Both teams had some errant hits and occasional moments of miscommunication, but it was a mostly well-played match.

Schueler had a pair of key blocks late in the first game to seal the win. After St Joe’s evened the match, Trumbull went up two games to one behind a 5-2 finish to the third game, capped by a Schueler kill.

Also in game three, Bailey Cenatiempo had consecutive aces to turn an 18-18 tie into a two-point Trumbull advantage.

The Cadets evened things sparked by a block at the net by Jenna Koonitsky.

The Eagles went ahead to stay in game three behind a pair of errant St Joe’s hits and Becca Lubbert’s ace.

St Joe’s got things back to even in the match with a five-point win in game four, closing it out with a 5-0 run. The Eagles built an early 6-2 lead in game four, but the Cadets clawed back. They eventually tied the score 9-9, but fell behind 17-11 before storming back again finally seizing a 19-18 lead on Allie Petronchak’s service point.

The teams traded points and the Cadets took the game four lead for good when Christina Crocco’s spike was too hot to handle, making it 21-20.

Ball’s tap-over kill, following a block by Schueler, made it 22-20. An ace by Fatse, a long hit by Trumbull and a kill by Crocco rounded out the game four scoring.

In the decisive fifth game, players from both squads continued to give it their all.

St Joe’s libero Kaitlin Capobiano and Trumbull libero Lubbert both made diving saves to keep rallies going.

“I thought the athleticism on the floor was really good,” Babineau said.

Schueler’s kill gave the Eagles a 6-2 advantage to start things for the second game in a row, but Trumbull never relinquished the lead this time.

Gibbs and Chase also had kills to jumpstart the Eagles in game five.

The Cadets hung around with Fatse trimming a 9-5 deficit to a three points with a spike.

Kills by Roberto, Gibbs and Schueler helped the Eagles again establish some breathing room for a 13-9 lead.

The Cadets got to within 13-11, as a Trumbull service error and long hit helped out, but that would be as close as the visitors would get.

Schueler ended the match with a kill.