Coventry volleyball outperforms expectations

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Coventry - posted Tue., Nov. 19, 2013
Kelly Foley dives for a serve during a Nov. 13 Class S semifinal match against Morgan. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Kelly Foley dives for a serve during a Nov. 13 Class S semifinal match against Morgan. Photos by Melanie Savage.

The Coventry girls’ volleyball team’s Sept. 11 match against Granby was an eye-opener for the team. “The first match of the season was our first loss in 76 matches,” said coach Ryan Giberson. “The last loss had come at Southington in 2009.” With the loss of seven seniors the previous year, the team expected to face some challenges.  Also a factor was “the improvement of our conference and our willingness to continue to play top level schools,” said Giberson, citing specifically losses to East Lyme and Southington. “All of our losses were in very close fashion,” said Giberson. “In past years we were able to win those. I think our lack of experience playing together and lack of depth at certain positions hurt us in those situations.”

But despite the challenges, the Coventry team managed to put together a 16-3 record for the regular season, earning a number-four seed heading into the Class S tournament and a bye for round one. They defeated Ansonia and Hale Ray to make it to the semifinal round. For the semifinals they took on Morgan, a team with a number-one seed and an undefeated record. “They are a team that plays almost virtually mistake-free,” said Giberson. “We made too many serving, hitting, passing and technical errors to give ourselves a chance to compete with them.” Morgan defeated Coventry in three games, and went on to defeat Lyman Memorial to capture the Class S championship.

Among this year’s players, “Emma Rose (junior) and Kelly Foley (senior) have introduced a new offense system,” said Giberson. “They are both hitting and setting from the back row opposite each other. This is a change from last year, as Emma was our full-time setter and Kelly was primarily a passer. The two “have been our anchors,” said Giberson. Three other seniors, Kelley Lindlau, Eileen Zadrozny and Lindsay Williams, have also stepped in to big roles this year, said Giberson.

During the season, “The team has shown some glimpses of playing at a very high level,” said Giberson. The highlight came on Saturday, Nov. 3, when the team beat Ellington and Granby, both 3-0, to win the NCCC post-season championship, said Giberson. “We played very well during those matches,” he said.

“At times our inexperience has shown and we were very inconsistent. Streaks of errors hindered our run to a Class S state championship.” Still the season was expected to be a rebuilding year, and it far exceeded those expectations. “All in all, the season was very successful,” said Giberson. “Many were not sure if we would make the state tournament. This team ended with a record of 20-4, NCCC post-season and regular season championship (17-1), and a loss in the state semifinals to the eventual state champion.”

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