Down 0-2 early, the Marianapolis varsity volleyball team rallied for a hard-fought, 3-2 (18-25, 23-25, 25-18, 25-19, 15-6) victory on the road at local rival Pomfret School on Wednesday. The win extends the Golden Knights unbeaten streak to 4-0 to start the season, and the win total matches the Knights' number from last season.
Head coach Scott Sheridan was ecstatic after the win. “It was a team effort. We needed everyone to contribute, and everyone did contribute. It was amazing!” He also gave a nod to the depth of his bench, which helps push the starters everyday in practice. Sheridan stuck to a 7-player rotation for the duration of the match, only using senior libero Marie Thibodeau to spell the starting 6 for the Knights.
Juniors Eva and Sophia Widmeyer led the Knights’ attack, but it was truly a team effort. Sophia garnered player of the match honors from coach Sheridan, filling the stat sheet with 14 kills, 11 digs and 7 blocks, many of the emphatic variety. Eva tallied 7 assists, 4 aces, 3 digs, 3 blocks and 3 kills to bolster the Knights’ efforts.
Senior Isabella DiNoia led the Knights with 24 service points and 4 aces. Fellow senior Kathryn Fontaine added 4 kills, including a couple of daggers to stop Griffin runs. Senior Doreen Reagan contributed with great passes all afternoon, tallying 12 assists. Thibodeau had 8 digs, two of which were on absolute bombs from the Griffins' hitters. Sophomore Emma Sarantopoulos had a team-high 13 digs for a gritty Knight squad.
It’s that grit that may separate this team from their opponents this season. In three matches already this year, the Knights have fallen flat early, only to come back for 4- and 5-set victories.
The ladies started out slow in this one, ceding a double-digit lead to the host Griffins in the first set. Despite the slow start, the ladies were able to claw back, but could not overcome the big hole they had put themselves in, falling in the first.
In the second, it all turned around. The Knights led up until 18-17 behind a long service run from DiNoia. But a couple late, unlucky bounces meant they wound up on the wrong side of a 23-25 deficit.
The Knights found themselves down again in the third, 3-10, despite nice work from Sarantopoulos at the net and Reagan in the passing game. DiNoia came to the rescue again, serving the Knights into the lead, an advantage they would hold onto for most of the rest of the afternoon. Reagan’s serves and a Fontaine kill helped them take the third in convincing fashion.
Reagan and DiNoia took control in the fourth, making smart plays again and again to build an early lead. Eva and Sophia Widmeyer used their ability to tip over the Griffin block at the net to put some distance between the Knights and their opponents near the end.
The fifth set was all Knights. Thibodeau had a huge dig up 4-0 to prevent the Griffins from taking the serve. Eva Widmeyer served the Knights to a 10-0 lead, and from there they would close it out, 15-6.
All told, the Knights took 19 straight points to close out the fourth set and begin the fifth, an emphatic ending to a great match against a tough Griffins team. They look to continue their momentous beginning to the season against NEPSAC Class C reigning champions Cheshire Academy at home on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Good seats are still available!