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Greenwich volleyball rolls over Warde

November 11, 2016 GMT

GREENWICH — The Greenwich volleyball team looks like a smoldering volcano, ready to explode at any minute. Unfortunately for Fairfield Warde, it may have happened in the middle of Game 2 during Thursday’s Class LL second-round match.

Greenwich was playing its first match of the tournament after receiving a first-round bye as the top seed, its first match after being upset in the FCIAC semifinals a week ago and all this while still smarting from last year’s loss in the state finals.

Something has to give. And the ashes began spewing Thursday. After surviving a close opening set, the Cardinals fell behind in Game 2. From there, however, they outscored Warde 42-16 to sweep the match 25-20, 25-17 and 25-10.

“We are really, really determined to make a long run in states after what has happened,” said senior Morgan Rafferty, who led the Cardinals with 13 kills, 12 service points and five digs. “We always start a little rusty but then we got it all together.”

After 17th-seed Warde (13-9) battled No. 1 Greenwich (19-2) close in Game 1, leading 19-18 before losing, the Mustangs bounced back nicely and took an 11-8 lead in the second set. But Greenwich, not about to see any state title dreams end yet, responded in a big way.

The Cards outscored Warde 17-6 to end Game 2, then behind the serving of Rafferty, looked like a team on a mission by jumping to an 8-0 lead in Game 3.

Jahaira Guerra had 11 service points and three aces for Greenwich while Nadia Sotgiu had nine kills and seven points, Tara Ford had seven kills and Nicole Wood added 29 assists.

“If we had to lose,” Warde coach Matt Narwold said, “I wanted to lose to the best, and Greenwich is the best.”

Greenwich, which will host No. 9 Glastonbury Saturday, was the No. 1 seed in the FCIAC tournament, but lost in five sets to McMahon.

“We had to put FCIACs behind us,” Rafferty said. “And this was a good way to do it.”

There are a good amount of players on this year’s team who were a part of last season’s disappointing loss to Fairfield Ludlowe in the Class LL finals.

“They’ve all been on the big stage, so experience is not lacking,” GHS coach Steve Lapham said about any pressure that might be lingering. “We will have to execute better than we did today. We’re not big and powerful, just quick and smart.”

Nicole Vaccarella led the Mustangs with 12 kills, seven digs and four blocks. Libby McKenna added nine kills, six digs and two blocks while Maura McNeil had 10 digs, five service points and one ace.