The Cheshire boys volleyball team played without one its best players in the CIAC
Class L quarterfinals Friday night and still dominated Glastonbury 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-17), using its depth of heavy hitters and a standout performance from
junior Nate Howard.
The No. 1 seed Rams (20-0) play Tuesday against No. 4 Ridgefield (17-3) in the
semifinals at Shelton High School at 7 p.m. and would like to have Joe Bahgat, the Southern Connecticut Conference Tournament MVP, in the lineup. Bahgat missed Friday's game with a back injury he sustained in the regular season final against Newington on May 20.
"He played through the SCC Tournament (with the back injury)," Cheshire coach
Sue Bavone said. "So, it just further aggravated it. He's doing therapy now, he sees a physical therapist, he's working it out and hopefully we'll get him back for next week."
With Bahgat out, 6-foot-10 Howard stepped up with 17 kills and four blocks against Glastonbury. In addition, Ryan Cuppernull had 13 kills, two blocks and four digs, K.C. Philcox seven kills, five blocks and five digs and setter Ray Brumleve 32 assists. Sophomore Evan Colechia, who replaced Bahgat in the starting lineup, contributed eight kills and three blocks.
"Last year, we relied a lot on Nate," Bavone said. "Nate and Joe mostly. And Ryan and K.C. have come back so strong and so it's nice to have that depth. But tonight with Joe out, we relied more on Nate again. When Joe's in there, Nate doesn't have to be the go-to guy.
"Ryan and K.C. stepped up really well. Nate is just a tough matchup. What are you
doing to do with him? He's tough to defend," Bavone said.
All of Cheshire's hitters strike the ball very hard. Depending on whether
Bahgat is back on Tuesday will indicate how much the Rams will need to draw on their depth.
"That's one of the pluses of that layover," Bavone said. "I gave them the long weekend off because I knew we weren't going to play until Friday. When they came back, it was like the season started all over again. Fresh legs, fresh arms. It makes a difference."
Cheshire has swept all but two matches this season, both 3-2 victories over
non-conference Newington. Tuesday will likely be its biggest test so far against a team from the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference.
"A team that we've never seen," Bavone said. "It's going to be very interesting. I guess they've got a big guy like Nate, so it's going to be fun."
On the other side of the bracket are eight-time state champion Staples and last year's titlist Southington.
After first and second-round victories, No. 5 seed Cheshire (20-6) saw its season end Saturday night falling to an old nemesis, No. 4 Amity, 5-0 in a CIAC quarterfinal at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury.
The Spartans' E.J. Ashworth held the Rams to four hits and struck out four. Connor David had two hits and Jordan Kubilus and Max Slade one apiece.
On Wednesday, the defeated No. 21 East Hartford 10-1 at home in a second-round game, scoring six times in the first inning. David and Matt Jefferis each had two hits and drove in two runs, and Kubilus hit a three-run double. Slade and Greg Leonetti had two hits and one RBI apiece.
Starter and winner Ryan Rougeot allowed three hits and struck out three while contributing a double and an RBI.
On Tuesday, Cheshire eliminated New Milford 10-5 in the first round at home.
Kubilus had two hits and drove in four runs. Rougeot and Slade, who started on
the mound, each had two-run base hits. Ryan Fowler earned the win and Dom
Severino closed it out pitching the seventh.
Slade and David will play for District III in the 38th Connecticut High School
Coaches Association Senior All-Star game June 14 at Plainville High School.
District III plays IV at 7:30 p.m.
No. 2 seed Cheshire (17-3) defeated No. 15 Conard-West Hartford 13-6 in a Class L first-round game at home Thursday. The Rams play No. 10 Danbury (10-6) in a
quarterfinal at home on Monday at 6 p.m.
Kathleen Kalbian scored five goals, Maria Blois had three and goalie Ashley Zane made 12 saves.
Cheshire finished the regular season 18-0-1, the program's first unbeaten season, and placed third (401) in the Southern Connecticut Girls Golf League Tournament on Tuesday at Woodbridge Country Club.
Andra Frappier was individual tournament champion with an 85. Other Cheshire golfers competing were: Meg Aitro (98), Jess Rotell (110), Emily
Larkin (108) and Emma Velcofsky (113).
The first nine holes of the tournament also served as Cheshire's final regular
season event with a 196-229 victory over Daniel Hand. Frappier was medalist in the match with a 41. Other Cheshire scorers: Aitro (49), Rotell (53) and Larkin (53).
Cheshire will play in the CIAC Tournament at Orange Hills CC Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. Frappier placed second last year in the tournament.
Cheshire finished seventh with a score of 342 at the first SCC Championship tournament Tuesday at Race Brook Country Club in Orange. Shelton won the team title (317).
Gil Lassen shot a 78, good for third in the individual scores, and Tom Wellspeak had an 81. Cheshire will compete in the CIAC Division I tournament
at Timberland Golf Club in Kensington Monday at 7:15 a.m.
Track & Field
Jake Scinto was a double winner at the Class LL championships on Tuesday at Willow Brook Park in New Britain with victories in the high jump (6 feet, 2 inches) and triple jump (school-record 46-7 1/2). He was also second in the long jump (22-5).
Eric Zdanowsky won the 110-meter hurdles (15.65 seconds) for Cheshire, which placed sixth with 51 points. Manchester won the meet with 75.
Philip Caldwell placed fourth in the 800 meters (1 minute, 57.48 seconds), Andrew Panther finished 12th in the 400 (52.44), and David Gomes was seventh in the pole vault (12-0).
Zdanowski and Orlando Marin tied for 11th in the triple jump (40-9 1/4).
The girls placed ninth with 23 points in the Class L meet Thursday at Middletown
High School. Windsor won with 105.
Ashia Wright was second in the 100 meters (12.59) and fourth in the 200 (26.08). Sarah Fusco placed ninth in the 400 (1:01.60), Breslyn Goodison was fifth in the shot put (32-4 1/4), and Ariel Greene third, discus (103-4). Goodison was also 10th in the discus (96-8).
The State Open is Monday at Willow Brook Park beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Brendan Pier advanced the furthest for Cheshire in the Class LL singles championships, losing in the second round 6-2, 6-2 to Reid Risinger of Glastonbury.
The doubles teams of Dan Grove-Tyler Hajjar (bye and straight-set victory) and Drew Henderson-Nitin Kumar (two straight-set victories) have advanced to the quarterfinals of the CIAC Class LL tournament and will play on Monday afternoon at Hall-West Hartford.
No. 26 seed Cheshire (7-9) lost to No. 7 Simsbury 7-0 in a Class L qualifying match Tuesday in Simsbury. The State Open begins Saturday at Yale at 1 p.m.
After defeating team from Manchester and Windham, the doubles team of Alyssa Carafano-Alex Hirt lost 8-0 to Weston in the second round of the State Open Saturday.
No. 6 seed Cheshire (15-7) was eliminated in the first round of the CIAC Class LL
tournament with a 2-0 loss to No. 27 Trumbull Tuesday at home. Nicole D'Amato struck out eight, and Alexa DiLeo had two hits in the season-ending defeat.
The No. 17 seed Rams (10-10) were eliminated in a first-round game 13-10 at No. 1 Newtown on Tuesday. Kevin Adams had two goals and three assists, Tom Dupont had a hat trick and Jack Cunningham scored twice. Tyler Violano made three assists and goalie Will Devine had 16 saves.