Fall sports

Greenwich High girls volleyball team edges Fairfield Ludlowe, 3-2, on the road to run record to a perfect 7-0

Photo by David Fierro: From left to right, Greenwich’s Adele Sotgiu, Liana Sarkissian and Maggie Saleeby wait to return a serve from Fairfield Ludlowe during a match in Fairfield on Sept. 30, 2021.

After sweeping its first six opponents, Greenwich High School’s girls volleyball team faced its toughest test of the season to date when it visited FCIAC rival Fairfield Ludlowe Thursday in the first meeting between the two squads since 2019.

And though they were challenged, the Cardinals passed their early-season test.

In a match involving two undefeated teams, Greenwich kept its perfect record intact, edging host Fairfield Ludlowe, 3-2, before a large gathering. With the win, the Cardinals upped their record to 7-0. They have won 19 straight matches dating back to last season, when they finished 12-0.

“It feels amazing, especially against a really competitive team,” Greenwich senior outside hitter Adele Sotgiu said of her team’s impressive winning streak. “This was definitely the best game we played so far, so I’m really glad we pulled out the win.”

Greenwich was victorious in the back-and-forth match, 25-14, 18-25, 23-25, 25-7, 15-10. The Cardinals jumped out to fast starts in both the fourth and fifth games on their way to the comeback triumph.

“Coming in, we didn’t know what to expect, we haven’t played them in two years,” Greenwich senior tri-captain Liana Sarkissian said. “So, we had to focus on staying cool through everything and I think that’s what helped us throughout the game as well. Even when we were down by a lot we always came back.”

Greenwich reacts to winning a key point during its match against host Fairfield Ludlowe on Sept. 30, 2021.

The Cardinals enjoyed competing against such a strong Ludlowe squad, which drew a big home crowd.

“We never give up and we are always after the ball no matter what,” Sarkissian said of the Cards’ comeback. “It feels really good. This win helped all of us come together a team even more.”

Sarkissian, a middle blocker, recorded 15 kills, as did junior outside hitter Maggie Saleeby. Senior outside hitter Adele Sotgiu had 11 kills, while senior Sophie Jones served well, tallying seven aces for the victors, which received standout play from junior setter Lucia Spanjol.

“I really think it was a serve and serve receive game,” said Sotgiu, a senior tri-captain. “The sets we were losing our serve receive wasn’t that good and we were making service errors. But that last set, we pulled it together and had really strong serving and really good serve receive.”

In the fifth and deciding game, Greenwich seized a 9-0 lead. Sotgiu helped GHS jump out to a comfortable advantage, hitting and placing her serves well. The fourth set saw Greenwich even the match by playing from ahead throughout. Jones (seven aces), a senior tri-captain, notched six straight service points, while Sarkissian put down three kills, as the Cards earned a 15-4 lead. Sotgiu and Saleeby also propelled the fast start in the fifth game.

Greenwich edged Ludlowe, 3-2, in a key FCIAC volleyball match.

Junior Tatum Holdereid paced Ludlowe, tallying six kills and four blocks. Senior Jane Ransome (eight kills, 10 service points, three aces) and senior setter Gabby Price (23 assists) also powered the Falcons (5-1).

“In the fourth set, we had this super high of energy and we were all excited and I think they came in with this wave of energy and that got ours down,” Holdereid said. “I think we got in our heads and we started kind of getting nervous as they got big hits. But that was a great competition.”

The Cards drew extra inspiration from playing in front of a big crowd in a playoff-type atmosphere.

“It was really great for us, especially with Ludlowe’s crowd, it really fueled us and made us show what we can actually do against a harder team,” Saleeby said. “When it’s getting all heated we have to stay calm and do what we do.”

Added Sotgiu: “I love the atmosphere, I love the big crowd, especially when it’s a rival team, because it really fuels us and makes us want to show them what we’ve got.”

Greenwich’s volleyball team has a record of 7-0.

Greenwich is back on the court again Friday against host Staples.

“They’re very good, we’re fortunate to get out of here with a win tonight,” Greenwich coach Steve Lapham said of Ludlowe. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. We see where we’re vulnerable and hats off to Ludlowe, they’re a good team. Liana had some big blocks and is very intimidating for the other team. Lucia did a great job and Adele, she took off in the fifth game. She had seven or eight serves and got us a lead that we were able to hold on to.”

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