Volleyball: Upset win puts Wilton back in playoff hunt
The Wilton High girls volleyball team scored its biggest win over the season on Monday night, upsetting Trumbull 3-2 at Zeoli Fieldhouse — and breathing new life into its post-season hopes.
It was the second win in four days for the Warriors (6-9), who still need two wins in their final five matches to make the state playoffs.
“It was a great moment for us to bounce back and score a great win against one of the most competitive teams in our league,” said head coach Steve Brienza. “They played as well as I could have asked. Everything was clicking and meshing well.”
The victory was Wilton’s first over a team with a winning record this season. Trumbull (8-5) had entered the match tied for fifth in the FCIAC playoff standings.
The Warriors came out serving strong in the first set, scoring a 25-14 win, before the Eagles took the second set, 25-20. Wilton pulled out a 26-24 win in the third set to take a 2-1 lead, and Trumbull again tied the match with a 25-20 win in set four.
As they had done in all but one set, the Warriors used strong serving to jump out to a lead in the fifth set, leading 4-1 and then 6-2. As opposed to a pair of 3-2 losses earlier in the season, the Warriors this time were able to close things out with a 15-10 win.
“One of the keys was our serving. It was as good as it could be. We had very few serving errors,” said Brienza. “We challenged their serve receive.”
Another key to the win was a more diverse attack at the net, he said, instead of relying too much on Sommer Rogg. That helped keep the Trumbull defense off-balance, and the Warriors were able to find open spots.
“Everyone we put on the front line and all the attacking players contributed kills,” he said, praising the ability to setter Juliana Musilli to get the ball to different players.
Rogg had a big game once again with 22 kills and 23 service points (13 aces), along with six digs. Brienza called it one of her best performances ever at both the net and at the service line.
Musilli finished with 35 assists, along with seven digs and four kills, while Kiana Nobumoto had seven kills, two blocks and six service points (three aces).
Brienza said libero Sophie Phelan’s leadership on Wilton’s serve receive and back row, and her passing, also were critical to the win.
The coach also cited the Warriors’ ability to shake off bad points, and not get discouraged, was another marked improvement over earlier losses.
“We didn’t see any of that. Everyone was really focused and everyone was super motivated,” he said.
Brienza is hoping the win gives the Warriors momentum and confidence going into the home stretch of the season.
“I think we have the length and the athleticism. We just need to be more confident in our abilities,” he said. “Hopefully, this will be a little springboard for us to finish strong.”
The team closes out the season at Greenwich (11-4) on Wednesday, at home against Danbury (12-3) on Friday and McMahon (10-5) on Monday, and at Stamford (8-7) next Wednesday and Ludlowe (4-10) on Oct. 27
“We definitely have some tough opponents to finish and hopefully we can repeat that level of execution and scoring at the net and at the line,” he said. “We can do it as long as we keep pushing hard and working together as a team.”