WOODBRIDGE — There have been numerous changes throughout the area in terms of scheduling due to Covid-19. With the shuffling of the schedules due to restrictions of the virus, teams are playing in new divisions as well as new opponents within the division.
Some games just need to be played. One of those contests is the rivalry match between Amity and Cheshire on the volleyball court.
Despite playing in different divisions, the two teams met Thursday evening at Amity High with the Rams dominating in a 3-1 Southern Connecticut Conference interdivision victory.
“I asked for it,” Cheshire coach Sue Bavone said. “When I saw we were playing a regionalized schedule, I saw there were some teams that were just as close. I said why aren’t we playing Amity? They allowed us to play outside the division. We need to keep a rivalry game. These kids are not playing for the normal championships. This is something to play for.”
With the 24-26, 25-12, 25-12, 25-13 victory, Cheshire improved to 5-0 on the season, while Amity suffered its first loss in dropping to 5-1.
“I am happy to play the teams we do,” Amity coach Seth Davis said. “It is good to play these games.”
For the Rams, it was a case of being mentally focused throughout. Challenged by players and coaches alike to keep the focus the entire contest, Cheshire answered the call in emphatic fashion.
After losing the first game by two points, Cheshire put its foot on the pedal and never let up in the final three games, forcing Amity into numerous errors and gaining easy points.
“Actually, the last few games we have been dropping sets we should not be dropping,” Cheshire senior Alenna Zebarth said. “We had a meeting and talked about bringing that energy to the floor and play with confidence. We talked about focus. We brought it tonight. I could not be more proud of this team. We did not play our best in the first set, but we were able to turn it around.”
Amity won the first game after Sydney Pitter broke a 23-23 tie with a kill, and Anastasia Prentiss broke the final tie at 24 with a kill.
From that point on, it was all Cheshire.
Playing with just limited Amity family members in attendance, the Rams dominated the final three games, starting each with leads of 8-1, 11-3 and 9-0. The deficit, coupled with all the unforced errors by the Spartans, was too much to overcome.
“When you play a consistent team like we did tonight, you can’t do that and expect them not to capitalize,” Davis said. “They played really well and they keep coming at you. You have to be ready and we were not.”
Cheshire’s offense kept the ball moving with Sarah Holley dishing out 24 assists, and Zebarth and Avery Mola each hurting Amity with seven kills apiece. Holley was also solid from the service line with four aces.
“There was a tremendous amount of energy with the rivalry,” Bavone said. “I am much happier with the girls. It is good to see them excited to go to a game like this. This is something to look forward to for them. It is something to look forward to for them at the end of the day.”
With Holley on the service line, Cheshire rolled off the first nine points of the fourth game, including a block by Hannah Portal and an ace by Holley.
“We had a chance to choose one team out of our division and we chose Amity,” Zebarth said. “They are our rival. It was tough with no (Cheshire) fans because they help make it the rivalry, but we brought it tonight.”
Amity got as close as 17-12, but Cheshire rolled off the next five points, three coming on Amity errors.
Holley extended the lead to 23-13 with a kill, before Cheshire’s pressure forced the final two points of the match.
CHESHIRE 3, AMITY 1
CHESHIRE 24 25 25 25 — 3
AMITY — 26 12 12 13 – 1
Cheshire: Sarah Holley — 24 assists, 3 kills, 4 aces, 2 digs; Alenna Zebarth — 7 kills, 2 digs, 1 block, 3aces; Avery Mola — 7 kills, 2 aces, 1 dig, 1 block.
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