In the Southern Connecticut Conference final on Friday, Cheshire High School boys’ volleyball (top seed, 18-4) won their ninth tournament crown with a 3-1 victory (25-13, 23-25, 25-18, 25-16) over defending champion Shelton (second seed, 13-7).
Last year, Shelton rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Rams, 3-2, but this time, Cheshire came away victorious on their home floor.
CHS came out fast to build a 16-7 lead in the opening set. Junior Connor Hayes set the tone with two early blocks.
Junior tri-captain Will Allen, who had five kills in game one, clinched the frame with a big hit.
Cheshire won game one by 13 points, but momentum shifted in the second set. CHS went up 11-6 and held a 17-15 lead midway through the game, but Shelton ran off four points and didn’t surrender the lead for the rest of the frame.
The Rams fought off a game point, however, the Gaels still tied the match on Cheshire’s ninth missed serve of the set.
CHS regained control from there. In game three, the Rams went on a 7-1 run to take a 11-5 advantage and went on to take the set.
Shelton erased four game points before Allen ended the frame with a kill.
In game four, the Rams exploded for a 19-9 advantage. Sophomore Jacob D’Addona provided key service, while classmate Matti Lilback picked up four kills and a block in a span of 16 points.
Lilback earned match point with a lob kill and then finished the match with another big hit at the net.
Senior tri-captain Matt Irizarry, who set Lilback’s last two kills, initiated the offense with 37 assists. He also had an ace, a dig, and a kill.
After posting 15 kills, two aces, and two digs, Allen received SCC Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Lilback tallied 13 kills, three digs, two blocks, and an assist.
Along with his two blocks, Hayes compiled seven kills and four digs. D’Addona posted five kills, two aces, two digs, and an assist.
Senior Drew D’Addio earned seven digs. Senior tri-captain Jason Cafourek added three digs, a block, and a kill.
Along with picking up their fifth straight win, Cheshire finished 3-0 against the Gaels this year.
The Rams have secured the sixth seed in the Class M Tournament. On May 31, CHS hosts Putnam (11th seed, 10-10) at 6 p.m.
Girls’ Tennis (12th seed, 13-6)
In a Class LL qualifier, Cheshire earned their second 7-0 shutout of Shelton (21st seed, 7-11) this year. To lead the singles lineup, sophomore Alex Orlins won 6-4, 7-5 and junior Anja Josef led 6-1, 5-0 when her opponent chose to retire.
Senior co-captain Asya Tarabar and sophomore Eva Curran both won 6-0, 6-0 to round out the singles contingent. Senior Lila Watkinson and junior Riley Baldoni (6-3, 6-1), senior Lizzy Klem and junior Arya Desai (6-1, 6-0), and senior co-captain Julia Hummel and Rachel Goldstein (6-1, 6-0) swept doubles.
For the first round on Saturday, CHS visits New Canaan (fifth seed, 15-3) to play at 11 a.m.
Boys’ Tennis (15th seed, 9-10)
Cheshire picked up a 5-2 victory in the Class L First Round at Newtown (second seed, 10-3). Senior captain Andrew Gershfeld (6-2, 6-3), freshman Brayden Stratton (6-0, 6-0), and junior Shawn Lawless (6-3, 6-2) were victorious in singles.
Sophomore Finn Hickey and freshman Luke Hays (6-3, 6-2) and junior Mike Anastasio and Luke Hayden (7-6 (7-1), 0-6, 10-8) came out on top in doubles.
On May 30, the Rams travel to face New Canaan (10th seed, 11-6) at 3 p.m.