Volleyball: Warriors squeak by Rams in five

The Wilton High volleyball team ended a three-match losing skid on Tuesday with a grueling five-set win over visiting New Canaan.

The win put the Warriors (7-3) one win shy of making the state playoffs for the first time in a decade.

The final scores were 25-21, 21-25, 27-25, 16-25, 15-12.

Wilton was coming off losses last week to Greenwich, St. Joseph and Fairfield Warde.

“This is a big, big momentum boost for us coming off last week. We played three tough opponents. We played all of them at least tight in a game,” said Wilton head coach Steve Brienza. “I think today we tightened it up and made sure we executed for three games.”

The Rams (2-8) seemed to have the momentum going into the fifth game, easily winning game four, 25-16, as the Warriors struggled to get anything going.

Wilton had the first service of the deciding game, jumping out to a 2-0 lead. New Canaan made it 2-2 after an ace by Hayley Salvatore, and later went up 4-3.

Wilton reeled off five straight points to lead 8-4, getting four service points by Rachel Low and back-to-back kills from Addie Tanzman. Winners by Sommer Rogg and Juliana Musilli later made it 10-6, and another kill by Rogg and back-to-back tough serves by Ava Martinelli had Wilton within two points of the game and match, 13-8.

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But New Canaan showed no quit, roaring back with four straight points, the last coming on a block by Paige Skyrm, to cut the lead to 13-12. Rogg pushed a hit into open space to get Wilton to match point, and the Rams couldn’t return Sophie Phelan’s serve, securing Wilton the game, 15-12, and match.

“I was really happy with the way we rebounded from game four, especially going down by a lot early and kind of working our way back into it, and taking the momentum out of the gate in game five,” said coach Brienza. “Getting the serve on the toss in game five was big for us. We put up points and held the lead for the majority of gave five.”

It was Wilton’s second five-game win this season.

“We kind of thrive in that moment. We don’t tense up and we don’t shy back,” he said. “They kept after it. They played hard and scrappy. They showed the kind of determination they needed to have to win the match today.”

Wilton opened the match with a 25-21 win in game one.

In game two, Wilton rallied from a 17-10 deficit to cut the lead to 23-21 after a play at the net by Kat Aznaran and ace by Sarah Souza. New Canaan got a key play at the net by Skyrm and then closed out game two, 25-21, on an ace by Jessica Parrino.

Wilton rode some strong serving to build a 19-12 lead in game three. But the Rams rallied with an 8-0 run, including seven consecutive service points from Molly Rochlin. The last three points, coming on kill by Carson Allsteadt, ace by Rochlin and kill by Skyrm, put the Rams in the lead, 20-19.

Tanzman’s dink shot over the New Canaan block tied things up 20-20. The score was tied at 21 and 22. Wilton got to within game point, 24-22, after Hayley Meyer’s hit off the block and a kill to the back corner by Aznaran.

But the Warriors made three straight hitting errors, allowing the Rams to surge to within game point, 25-24. New Canaan was thwarted by a block at the net by Meyer and Aznaran, and consecutive kills by Musilli, both on tap shots over the block, gave Wilton a 27-25 win in game three.

In game four, New Canaan jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead, and later used a 5-0 run, getting another strong service game from Rochlin, to lead 16-7. Wilton never got closer than seven points the rest of the game, which the Rams won 25-16.

The Warriors had big performances from Low with 28 assists, nine digs, two kills and six service points (one ace); Rogg  with 15 service points (five aces), 11 kills and eight digs; and Musilli with 10 kills, four digs, six service points (four aces) and one assist.

Martinelli finished the match with 25 digs, nine service points (three aces) and one assist, while Meyer had five service points (two aces), three kills, one block and one assist. Tanzman had five kills.