Volleyball: Wilton closes in on playoff berth with win over McMahon

The Wilton High girls volleyball team scored its second upset win in eight days on Monday, moving one step closer to a state playoff berth.

The Warriors defeated visiting Brien McMahon 3-1 at home, on Senior Night, to improve to 7-11.

The team can qualify for the Class LL tournament with one win in its final two matches — at Stamford (10-8) on Wednesday and at Fairfield Ludlowe (5-12) on Friday.

It was the final home match for the team’s five seniors — captains Sommer Rogg and Addie Tanzman, and Sophie Phelan, Alison Wenman and Julia Bonnist. Team manager Eve Ogdon was also honored before the match.

“I don’t think anyone was expecting us to win so I’m really happy we were able to pull together,” said Rogg, who had another huge performance with a team-high 21 kills. “We were playing really hard. We were trying to go for every ball. We wanted to come together and play the hardest that we could and give our full heart to this last game.”

“The seniors, they just have this innate competitive nature about them that is unmatched,” said head coach Steve Brienza. “I hope that continues to be the monster within us this week and gives us one more in the win column.”

The Senators (10-8) looked on their way to a win in game one, leading 16-10. But a string of errors helped Wilton reel off seven straight points, six on service points by Juliana Musilli, and take a 19-17 lead.

McMahon came back and tied things up, 20-20, on an ace by Michelle Perea. Two service points by Phelan, the second an ace, made it 23-20, and Tanzman’s kill at the net closed out the game for Wilton, 25-22.

In game two, Wilton jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead, after three service points (including an ace) by Shanna Kosar, and led by three to six points after that en route to a 25-20 win.

Game three was tied at 12-12 when the Warriors’ play unraveled a bit, with numerous miscues — including a string of serving errors. McMahon took advantage to go up 17-13, and was still up 19-17 when it reeled off four straight points, the last on a kill by Taylor Morton, to lead 23-17. The Senators scored the final point in the 25-19 win on combined block by Jazmin Bien-Aime and Lila Young.

Game four was tied at 7-7 when Wilton went on a 5-1 run, with the last two points on kills by Rogg, to lead 12-8. After some hitting errors by the Senators, and a perfectly placed kill in the back corner by Tanzman, the Wilton lead grew top 17-10.

The lead was 19-14 when Musilli scored a point at the net, and Skikah Shah served four straight points to make it 24-14. Wilton took the game, 25-16.

In addition to her 21 kills, Rogg also had six service points and eight digs.

“Sommer has been incredible all year long. The last two weeks or so she’s just been absolutely on fire,” said Brienza. “She’s been killing the ball and playing defense. She’s one of the most competitive athletes I’ve ever coached.”

Phelan, who made some incredible diving saves to keep the ball alive in the final game, finished with 13 digs and nine service points (two aces), while Musilli had a great all-around game with 10 kills, 22 assists, nine digs and 10 service points.

Tanzman contributed four blocks and six kills, while Cate McCabe had three kills and Kosar and Shah each had eight service points.

Rogg said after the loss in game three, the Warriors decided they weren’t about to let the match slip away.

“We really came together as a team. We decided it wasn’t worth throwing away and we wanted to pick it back up and just finish hard,” she said.

Morton led the McMahon attack with 17 kills along with five service points, while Tes DeJaeger had 11 service points. Elizabeth Murphy had four kills and five service points and Olivia Cintron had six service points.

“McMahon’s a very good team. They’re very efficient. Taylor is a 1,000-kill player, and Tes is an all-state setter, so it was another great win for us. I hope they see this as more momentum,” said Brienza. “If we can vary our attack and vary our offense, it makes us a little more dangerous and it frees up Sommer on the outside a little bit, so our opponents’ blockers aren’t on the outside just waiting for the hit.”

Notes: The Warriors were coming off a tough 3-1 loss to Danbury on Friday. Wilton won the first set, 25-22, and nearly took the second before losing, 27-25. The Hatters (14-4) went on to win the last two sets,  25-16 and 25-20.

Rogg (22 kills, 10 service points, five aces), Phelan (19 digs) and Musilli (30 assists, four kills) led the way for Wilton.