Eastern, Central volleyball ready to play for chance at all-Bristol Class L state final

The Battle for the Bell may be next Thursday, but an even bigger matchup could take place Saturday on the volleyball court at East Haven High School.

Bristol Eastern and Bristol Central play in Class L girls volleyball state semifinal matches today, 4:30 and 7, at Naugatuck High School’s Ed Mariano Gymnasium. If the Lancers and Rams both win, they would face each other for the first time ever in a state final. That’s a lot to take in, and the amount of energy that the Bell City would bring to East Haven for its volleyball teams would be incredible.

First, Eastern (15-8) and Central (19-8) have to get past their semifinal opponents. For the No. 10 Lancers, that means defeating No. 3 Farmington in the 4:30 matchup. For the No. 9 Rams, that means beating No. 12 St. Joseph-Trumbull in the 7 o’clock nightcap. 

Farmington (20-4) had a first round bye, then dispatched No. 14 Platt (3-0) and No. 6 Simsbury (3-1) to reach the semifinal round. The Red Hawks already own a win over Eastern this season, 3-1, on Oct. 11. Farmington’s attack is led by senior Brooke Jones and junior Lucy Scudder. Junior Jamie Zadrozny and senior Aubrey Zadrozny lead the Red Hawks in aces while Scudder is third. Sophomore Lauren Jones is tops in blocks while Audrey Zadrozny is the facilitator of the offense. Jamie Zadrozny leads the way in digs. Eastern’s attack is led by seniors Adrianna Reay and Gabby Caucci. Reay, senior Sarama Paranzino and sophomore Naseem Hennouch are tops in aces for the Lancers. Junior Kamila Mateo-Rivera and Paranzino lead in blocks while seniors Andrea Matir-Perez, Reay and Caucci are tops in digs. Hennouch makes the offense go while Matir-Perez, Caucci and Matir-Perez are at the top in serve receives.

St. Joseph (16-7), defeated No. 21 North Haven (3-0), No. 5 Rockville (3-0) and No. 4 Woodstock Academy (3-2) to get to the semifinal round. The Cadet attack is led by senior captain Erin Lovett, junior Kelli Ennis and senior Grace Koonitsky. Ennis leads the way in aces, Lovett is tops in blocks, and senior Nacelis Galarza is first in digs. The offense is steered by senior captain Margaret Wetmore while Galarza, Koonitsky and Ennis pace St. Joseph in serve receives.

Central’s attack is paced by the one-two punch of junior Grace Higgins and sophomore Lily Kirk. Higgins, freshman Isabella Alves, junior Emily Fontaine and senior Alex Rivera pace a dynamic Ram service game – seven players have 26 or more aces – while sophomore Ella Pratt and Alves are at the top in blocks. Junior Daigelis Figueroa, Rivera and Higgins lead the way in digs, but it’s Rivera – who has over 2,000 career digs – that makes the Central offense go. Figueroa, Higgins and Kirk handle the majority of serve receives.