Lyman Memorial sweeps Coventry to win Class S state volleyball title

·4 min read

Nov. 20—EAST HAVEN — One-by-one, Lyman Memorial began pounding away on Coventry to start Saturday morning's CIAC Class S volleyball championship.

If it wasn't Callie Nanos killing at the net, then it was Fallon Bailey. Setter Kassidy LaTour was efficiently feeding them for the attack, aided by the deft defense and passing of libero Arianna Garcia.

The Bulldogs rocked Coventry early and went on to they play their most complete match of the season, beating the Patriots 25-8, 25-20, 25-13 to win their third straight state championship at East Haven High School.

Save the best for last.

"It felt like all of our hitters were on," Nanos said. "We were all doing really well at warmups which definitely gave us an extra boost when we got out on the court because we were all confident in the swings that we were taking and the sets that we were being given."

It was the fourth state championship for third-seeded Lyman (22-3), the most by an Eastern Connecticut Conference program.

"Everybody was contributing the whole time," LaTour said. "Everybody was together. We've had some matches where we all just fall down a little bit. This game we all stayed up at every point of the (match), so it was really great."

Bailey and Nanos gave the Bulldogs their power at the net and blocking.

Nanos had a match-high 16 kills with 12 digs and four aces to earn tournament MVP honors while Bailey added 10 kills, 15 digs and two blocks.

"I do think (Lyman's) harder swings obviously affected our passing a little bit and made the game a little more hectic," Coventry head coach Ryan Giberson said.

LaTour could've easy been named MVP, too, because she was nearly flawless directing the offense with 31 assists and nine digs. Garcia added 16 digs.

"I think today was our best team win this year," said first-year Bulldogs head coach Emily Vigue, a 2012 Lyman graduate who played on the volleyball team. "They were utilizing every single hitter. Everyone got set. Everyone got a kill. It was a huge team win for us."

LaTour said that Lyman benefited from playing some of the ECC's large-school programs during conference play, such as East Lyme and Fitch, when it began tournament play against fellow small-school teams.

East Lyme beat the Bulldogs twice this season, including the Division I conference final. Fitch gave them their other loss.

"Playing those larger schools just helped us every day," LaTour said. "Once we played those larger schools and they're better, we got better. They helped make us better."

Ruby St. Onge had 11 digs and five kills for the eight-seeded Patriots (19-8) and Charlotte Jordan had 10 assists, four digs and three kills.

"(Lyman) just kept us on the move," Giberson said. "We just weren't able to make those smart decisions and good plays because we were just constantly sending over free balls or trying to keep the ball in play, which is great from a hustle standpoint, but not sustainable in this game."

Lyman jumped out to a 9-3 lead in Game 1.

Two kills by Nanos and two Coventry errors extended the Bulldogs lead to 15-6.

Mia Attardi stepped up to the service line with Lyman leading 16-7 and didn't stop until her team pulled ahead, 23-7. The Patriots made four errors during that run.

Coventry played cleaner in Game 2 and led 19-17 with the serve.

Garcia dug a ball over the net to give the Bulldogs a point and the serve.

Lyman scored five straight to go ahead for good, 23-19. Nina Gardella and Nanos each had a kill during that run and Bailey added an ace.

Attardi once again affected Coventry's defense with her serve in Game 3. She had an ace during a 5-0 run and Carlee DeRoehn and Nanos each added a kill to give the Bulldogs a 17-8 lead.

Bailey ended the match with a kill.

"Everything just clicked, and it happened to be in the state championship," Vigue said. "I'm so proud of them. It was such a good team win."

n.griffen@theday.com