GREENWICH—It was a very, very, very long time coming.
But when revenge finally arrived Friday for the Greenwich Academy girls volleyball program, it was oh so sweet.
The Gators devoured King, 25-19, 26-24, 25-18 before an adoring partisan crowd.
For King, it was its first girls volleyball loss to a Fairchester Athletic Association opponent since Greenwich Academy topped the Vikings in the 2013 FAA playoff semifinals.
“It’s been our goal to beat King for quite some time,” said GA’s Evelyn Girard. “A lot of great players all pulled together today to make this happen. We had a plan. And we worked so hard in practice since Day 1 to make this a reality.”
Indeed. It was GA’s balance and chemistry that won the afternoon for this historic victory.
In Game 1, the Gators ran off the final five points to win 25-19.
In Game 2, King roared back from a 9-3 deficit to lead 24-21. However, GA again ran off five straight sudden death points to stun the Vikings, 26-24.
In Game 3, GA led 8-1 and 16-7. The Gators’ lone snag was getting the closing point as King went from 24-11 before falling 25-18.
EVERYONE WAS A GA HERO
Greenwich Academy (5-0) took control in the match by getting superior serving from everyone but their designated server Friday. According to the Gator stats, they had four players with at least four aces.
“The key to the victory was owning Ball No. 1. That meant serving great and being solid on our serve receive,” Greenwich Academy coach Christy Girard said. “With success in those two factors, we were able to run our offense. Our well-placed serves kept King on their heels and didn’t allow them to get into their offense.”
Greenwich Academy is blessed with a plethora of hitters (Grace Ryan, Alex Trofort, Kate Miele (a lefty), Madlin Decker, Evelyn Girard) who can attack from the front or back row off assists from setter Valeska Lasky.
“King’s defense didn’t know where the kills were coming from,” GA coach Girard said. “We’re so versatile that anyone can be the hitter. I’m so proud of our girls. They were dedicated to executing exactly what we wanted.”
KING GETS A TASTE OF ADVERSITY
King (2-1) was playing only its third match since Sept. 11. The Vikings were also without the services Friday of senior Anne Michalski (on a college visit).
But the 2018 Vikings are not the juggernaut like the King squads that have won every FAA regular season and playoff title since 2014 and captured the last three NEPSAC Class C crowns.
King is still developing a bench. They don’t have interchangable parts, which showed up Friday in their indecisive back row defense. Their communication on the court must improve. And they are asking two freshmen — Norah Shattan and Nicole Salantay — to fill key roles.
“Well, the history bookends are complete. GA beat us today and beat us in the 2013 FAA playoffs,” said King’s veteran coach Tung Tran. “Our group learned that winning tradition doesn’t mean victories are handed to you. You have to earn your success. Give GA all the credit. They were scrappy and had great chemistry.”
GA had Friday’s match circled on its calendar. Now King will have the 2018 FAA playoff dates of November 5, 7 and 9 circled on their digital calendar. That’s when King will have the next chance to see Greenwich Academy, which is looking for its first FAA volleyball title since 2012.
“We have to work on our defense,” King coach Tran said. “We are a work in progress. But it will be interesting to see what this group can accomplish from here.”
GREENWICH ACADEMY 3, KING 0
KING 19 24 18—0
GREENWICH ACADEMY 25 26 25—3
Records: King 2-1, Greenwich Academy 5-0. Highlights: GA—Valeska Lasky 12 assists for kills, 6 digs, 4 aces. Alex Trofort 4 blocks, 5 kills. Grace Ryan 4 aces. Kate Miele 5 kills. Evelyn Girard 5 aces. Madlin Decker 7 digs. Note: K—1st loss by King to an FAA opponent since 2013 FAA playoff semifinals against Greenwich Academy.