After fending off the visiting Hornets to win game one, and seizing a quick 4-0 lead in game two, the momentum for Shelton High’s girls volleyball team quickly shifted completely to Branford’s side of the net in Monday’s showdown at Shelton High.
Branford reeled off six straight points to claim the lead en route to a game two victory, on the way to a 3-1 (24-26, 25-14, 25-13, 25-14) win, dropping Shelton to 6-6 this fall.
Credit the Hornets for playing strong defense and nailing some solid put-away hits, but Shelton coach LeAnne Bianchine thought it came down to her team’s lack of execution. Shelton did, after all, defeat this same Branford squad in another four-game match earlier this campaign.
“We show up every other game. Right now we’re trying to get it together,” said Bianchine, adding that her team was coming off a quality five-game win over SCC rival Foran High on Thursday.
The Gaelettes had some miscommunication at times, and some errant hits to assist Branford.
“We didn’t move our feet, our serve-receive was bad. I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” Bianchine said.
Youth and inexperience are factors in this up and down season. Shelton has a trio of sophomore starters – Elizabeth Casinelli, Reem Abdel-Hack and Sara Demarco – all of whom made some nice contributions on the court in the loss to Branford.
Demarco had nine digs, some of those of the diving save variety, to go along with a trio of aces.
“There’s a lot of potential. The future’s very bright,” Bianchine said.
Senior Danielle Kreitler had five kills, and junior Emily Renkowsky added three aces.
Junior Grace Boles had some strong serves, including an ace, to help close out the game one win. Senior Megan Kreitler and Casinelli had some key blocks, and Danielle Kreitler ended it with an ace.
Megan Kreitler had a couple of early-game tap-over kills to help Shelton seize the early lead in game two, but Branford took over to win game two going away.
In game three, the Hornets jumped out to a 19-8 lead. Shelton used a 5-0 run to show some fight, but couldn’t get any closer.
Branford used an 8-0 run early in game four to claim an 11-4 advantage and kept pulling away.
In the win over Foran a few days earlier, the Gaelettes took the fifth set 15-11.
Shelton was led by Danielle Kreitler (9 kills, 5 blocks, 14 digs), Megan Kreitler (2 aces, 5 kills, 4 blocks, 1 dig) Casinelli (9 kills, 1 block, 2 digs) and Julia Jacobs a junior.