EAST HAVEN — The Trumbull volleyball team picked the perfect time to play a perfect match.

The Eagles hit on all cylinders, claiming their first-ever state championship with a 3-0 victory over Westhill in the CIAC Class LL final Saturday night at East Haven High School.

It was eighth-seeded Trumbull’s second title in two years, having also defeated No. 3 Westhill for the FCIAC championship last fall.

The moment on Saturday was overwhelming, so much so that Eagles’ coach Nicole Trommelen said she could hardly find the words to describe the performance.

“We could not have had a better state tournament run,” Trommelen said. “I don’t even have words right now. They’re a tough team and a great opponent, and every single time it’s a battle. I’m just so proud of the way our girls responded. They just got after it today. They really wanted it.”

“I’m just so happy and so proud of this team and the way we’ve fought all season,” senior libero Ashleigh Johnson, who was named the MVP, said. “It was insane to be out there with these girls and I know every single one of them wanted this in their heart and it really showed out there today.”

It was the third meeting of the season for the two FCIAC teams, and their fifth meeting over the past two years. Trumbull (21-4) defeated Westhill 3-1 during the regular season, but the Vikings (23-5) came back to defeat the Eagles 3-2 in the FCIAC semifinals.

For Westhill, it was a disappointing end to the season, as the Vikings had also finished as the runners-up in the last two FCIAC tournaments.

“I told them to keep their heads up and be proud of what they’ve done all season, and how far they’ve come,” Westhill coach Marianna Linnehan said. “They didn’t give up, and they kept fighting. Just be happy that we got to play this last game together and made it as far as we could, but because there are a lot of other teams who weren’t playing.”

Trumbull had big nights from several pplayers, with Johnson leading a stellar defensive effort with 13 digs to go along with two kills, and one ace. Her deep serves also keep the Vikings off-balance and gave the Eagles another edge.

“Defensively, we were just in the right spot,” Trommelen said. “We watched film from when we lost to them in the FCIAC semifinals, and we knew what we had to do to try and change that. We kept the ball alive and got some of those points here and there that really helped fueled our momentum.”

Setter Ali Castro was also in fine form with 30 assists, nine digs and two kills; Bailey Cenatiempo had a team-high 10 kills and 21 digs; and Lindsay Gibbs had nine kills.

“We really wanted to play them because of what happened in the semifinals of the FCIAC tournament,” Castro said of Westhill. “We wanted to prove to everyone that we could beat them because they are a very well-rounded team. We’re very similar teams with similar hitting and passing, so it’s really fun to play them.”

All three sets were close, as the two teams went back-and-forth for much of the night.

Trumbull had an 18-8 lead in the first set before Westhill rallied with a 13-3 run to tie the score at 21-21. The Eagles then responded by taking the final four points for the win and a 1-0 lead.

The second set took a similar path. Trumbull built a 20-13 lead, Westhill came back to tie it at 21-21, and the Eagles scored four straight points. A serve by Stephanie Olah ended it and gave Trumbull the 2-0 advantage.

The Eagles had a 14-6 lead in the third frame when the Vikings again answered. It was a three-point edge at 21-18 when Trumbull finally put it away, winning four of the next six points for the win. A booming kill by Gibbs ended the match as the Eagles piled onto the floor.

“It was amazing,” Castro said of that moment. “I can’t put it into words. It was so good to see everything finally come together the way it did (tonight). We became the team that we knew we could be.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Ashleigh Johnson, Trumbull. The Eagles’ senior Libero led a stellar defensive effort, making 13 digs and earning MVP honors.

QUOTABLE

“They key was to keep our energy up, keep our heads in the game and not let the crowd or anybody else take over the game for us. We were definitely able to control it.” — Trumbull senior Ashleigh Johnson.

david.stewart@hearstmediact.com; @dstewartsports

TRUMBULL 3, WESTHILL 0

TRUMBULL 25 25 25 - 3

WESTHILL 21 21 20 - 0

Trumbull: Bailey Cenatiempo 10 kills, 21 digs; Ali Castro 30 assists, 9 digs, 2 kills; Ashleigh Johnson 13 digs, 2 kills, 1 ace; Lindsay Gibbs 9 kills.

Westhill: Betsy Sachs 11 kills, 6 digs, 2 blocks; Tamar Bellete 10 kills; Sanjana Nayak 11 digs, 4 kills; Sophia Thagouras 5 kills, 6 digs, 13 assists.

Records: Trumbull 21-4; Westhill 23-5.