NEW MADISON – Ansonia got off to a slow start on Tuesday and was happy to leave town with a 3-1 win over Tri-Village in Cross County Conference volleyball action.
The Tigers prowled slowly through their first game matchup with the Patriots taking advantage with a strong 25-11 first set win. Senior Allie Downing got the Patriots a nice lead midway through with nice cross court serving, and the Tigers appeared to be frustrated.
“I give credit to Tri-Village; they were on the floor every single point and they played hard,” Ansonia coach Craig Riethman said. “And to score a point you had to earn it, and we made some mistakes especially, and they made us pay for that.”
The second set was a back and forth until Ansonia senior Lydia Sink got on a roll with her powerful jump serve. With the score 16-15, Sink would serve the next eight points to put the Tigers up 23-15, and they closed it out from there for the 25-17 win.
“When we started giving ourselves three options at the net we started to play better,” Riethman said. “Our confidence and energy grew from that as the contest went on.”
Set three was another neck-and-neck affair and with the score all knotted up again at 14 the Tigers got a little separation to go up 18-14. They would need it, eventually winning the set 25-22.
“In the third set we dug in and came back, which is what we obviously had to do after that second game,” Tri-Village coach Eric Burkhart said. “I told the girls we need to have a good pass, a good set and just hit the ball. We can’t give up too many free balls because Ansonia is a good hitting team.”
Tri-Village would continue to play well and with its backs up against the wall needed a strong fourth set, which the Patriots got, eventually holding a 24-22 advantage and just one point away from sending it to a fifth set … but the Tigers pounced and pulled out at dramatic 26-24 final set win to take the match 3-1.
Ansonia was more than happy to get out of town with the victory.
“Once we got the mindset that we were going to have to earn our points our play picked up and we got more consistent, which put us in a position to win the game,” Riethman concluded.
Ansonia improved to 9-1 overall on the year and will host Newton on Thursday.
For Tri-Village it was a game that showed the Patriots they can play with anybody and with hard work and improvement they might be able to put some more in the win column.
“We fell a little short,” Burkhart said. “We gave it a good run but made too many fundamental mistakes in the end that cost us the game. We need to come together more as a team a fix a few of those things, and we’ll work on that in practice.”
Tri-Village junior varsity defeated Ansonia 2-0. The Patriots will host Southeastern on Saturday.