GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: Morgan suffers first loss in Class S state semifinals
HARTFORD, Nov 15, 2012 (Menafn - New Haven Register - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Morgan's quest for its 12th state volleyball title -- and first since 2005 -- came to an end following a heartbreaking 3-2 loss against No. 3 Holy Cross in the Class S state semifinals Wednesday at Sports and Medical Sciences Academy.
The Huskies' first loss of the season came on the heels of tournament sweeps against No. 15 Valley Regional and No. 7 Seymour.
"I'm shocked at how poorly we played," said Morgan coach Joe Grippo. "We've been playing unbelievably well in the tournament and for us to do this is so out of character for the way we've been playing that's really discouraging."
Morgan rallied twice from a game down and led 13-10 in the decisive fifth game before the Crusaders pulled out the 29-27, 17-25, 25-21, 13-25 and 16-14 victory.
"It is the best feeling in the world," said Holy Cross senior Adrianna Mihalek. "I really can't describe it. We started working so hard in June to win the NVL (Naugatuck Valley League). We got second and we just knew after that we had to pick ourselves up and we just worked so hard in this game. We had our ups and downs, but we really came through."
Mihalek, who put pressure on the Huskies' defense with a powerful outside hitting attack and seemed to be in the middle of every rally, led Holy Cross with 17 kills, 21 assists and three blocks.
"The only kid who stepped up tonight was Mihalek," said Grippo. "She was the kid that made the decision that her team wasn't going to lose and we didn't have anybody do that tonight."
Crusaders' senior Mikalea Rice started the game-winning rally in the decisive fifth game with her 11th block. Senior Julia Albini (four kills) ended the match with a service ace. Senior Taylor Racevicius had 16 digs, while junior Meredith Narowski had 11 kills and 17 digs for Holy Cross.
"We came ready to play tonight," said Holy Cross coach Danielle Moffo. "For my five seniors, I told them to leave it all on the court tonight and they really did. In the end, it was my five seniors leaving it all there and that's how we won it."
Morgan (21-1) was led by senior Kat Wilkinson (21 digs)and junior Lily Dawson (47 assists).
, junior Sarah Dahlberg (26 kills), and sophomore Jen Dawson (17 kills and 14 service points).
Earlier in the day, the Huskies were declared Shoreline Conference co-champions with East Hampton. The league's final was postponed due to inclement weather. It was Morgan's 21st straight Shoreline title.
"It's not a great year when you go out like this," said Grippo. "We made way too many mistakes. We were out of position defensively. I don't think we were smooth all night. Even at the end when all we had to do to win the match is make a pass and we pass the ball off the net. We gave them a free ball, Mihalek puts it away and we're on defense again."
Holy Cross (20-2) will be making its first appearance in the Class S championship game Friday at Glastonbury. The Crusaders will face No. 1 Coventry (23-0). The top-seeded Patriots, winners eight of the last nine Class S championships, including six straight, swept No. 5 Terryville, 25-8, 25-11 and 25-12 in the nightcap of Wednesday's semifinal doubleheader.
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