Volleyball: Wilton falls to Rams in tough battle

The Wilton High volleyball team started strong in each of the first two games against visiting New Canaan on Monday, but couldn’t quite close things out and wound up with a hard-fought 3-0 loss.

The final score was not indicative of how close the match was, as every game was fiercely contested before the Rams prevailed, 25-21, 29-27, 25-21.

Wilton fell to 3-15 overall, and 1-13 in the FCIAC, while New Canaan improved to 4-10 in the FCIAC, and 6-11 overall. The Warriors close out the season on Wednesday at Westhill and on Friday at home against Norwalk.

"I thought we played well. It's a tricky game sometimes. You can have a good lead and great momentum. Then its all goes in the wrong direction and the momentum kind of shifts," said Coach Steve Brienza. "It was a hard-fought match. It was a matter of executing from points 20 to 25 that was the difference."

Brienza said it was the story of the Warriors' season.

"We've been within a whisper of winning a game to give us some momentum, and it kind of slips out from under us," he said.

Monday’s match was Wilton’s Senior Night game, with the Warriors’ seven seniors — Captains Julia Schiavone and Shannon Golden, along with Jessie Huffman, Natalie Bennett, Carly Lovallo, Shriya Pathania and Claire McCullough — honored before the game with their parents.

In game one, the Warriors had the lead for most of the way, before New Canaan closed it out with a 10-3 run.

Wilton ran out to a 12-5 lead after six straight service points by Golden, the last an ace. The Rams came back with a 9-2 run to tie the match, 14-14, but consecutive aces by Lovallo helped the Warriors go up 17-14.

New Canaan scored four straight points to take a 19-18 lead. The game was tied 20-20, before the Rams ran off four straight points to lead 24-20, and then closed it out on a kill by Hailey Wheeler.

In game two, Wilton jumped out to a 7-3 lead after four service points by Pathania, and held a three- to five-point lead for most of the game.

Down 22-17, New Canaan got five straight service points by Molly Rochlin, two on kills by Haley Paddock, to tie thing up at 22-22.

Lovallo slammed down a short volley at the net to put Wilton up 23-22, but consecutive kills by Paige Skrym and Wheeler put New Canaan up 24-23.

After Wilton staved up three game points, Bennett’s kill put the Warriors up 27-26. But they couldn’t close things out and New Canaan scored the final three points to win 29-27.

In game three, Rochlin’s four service points, including two aces, put the Rams up 15-8, but Wilton rallied to cut the lead to 17-15, and an ace by Huffman cut it to 18-17.

The Warriors were still within a point, 22-21, when New Canaan closed it out with three points, the last two being back-to-back aces by Wheeler.

For Wilton, Schiavone had 14 assists, seven digs and three kills, along with three service points (one ace). Golden finished with eight service points (one ace) and 10 digs. Huffman had eight digs and six service points (one ace), plus five kills. Bennett had six kills and Ava Martinelli, McCullough and Pathania each had two kills.

Lovallo (two aces) and Pathania (one ace) each had seven service points, and Martinelli had two service points.

Wheeler had 12 kills and five aces to lead New Canaan, while Siena Potenza had eight kills and Skrym five kills. Sara Brindisi had 34 assists. Maggie Tensen had 11 digs.