NEW BRITAIN - Despite the resilient efforts of the New Britain girls volleyball team, the Hurricanes fell short in the first round of the Class LL tournament Monday evening.
No. 13 New Britain fell to No. 20 Conard 3-1 after set scores of 25-21, 25-18, 22-25 and 25-10.
“At this point in time, the games in November are the ones you remember,” Hurricanes head coach Michelle Abraham said. “It’s tough, [our players] worked hard, they were over .500. We had a few goals, qualify for the league tournament - they did that; qualify for state tournament - they did that; we just wanted to get to the first round.”
Nariely Andujar finished with 23 digs and 13 assists for New Britain, while her teammates Raven Jarrett and Nataly Hernandez ended the game with 8 kills and two aces respectively.
But the match went proved to be difficult from the start.
After New Britain started out the first game with a 2-0 lead, the Chieftains ran off 12 straight points and it looked like they would put the first set away early. But the Hurricanes began to exchange points before tying the score at 17 thanks to two runs of four or more.
In the end, Conard proved to more than capable of ending any kind of New Britain rally, taking the first set 25-21.
“It seems like all season long we would get to a point and we just couldn’t push over that edge,” Abraham said. “I felt we had a great draw being here with Conard. The first game they came out hard ready to go, ready to play, but the serving hurt us.”
The second set between the Hurricanes and the Chieftains was a battle back-and-forth for points with neither team able to get head of the other for more than two points. It wasn’t Conard used a seven-point run to pull away and take the second game 25-18.
New Britain looked like it started to turn the match around in the third set. The Hurricanes never fell behind the Chieftains.
With each team trading points, the score remained close. New Britain led 24-20, before Conard found momentum for a four-point run. It wouldn’t be enough as the Hurricanes were awarded the final service point, ending the set 25-22.
“We worked hard, we really did,” Andujar said. “We tried our best, we communicated, we threw our sweat and blood out there on the court. I can say, I have never played a game like that, and man, did my girls want to win. We fought as hard as we could.”
The Hurricanes never had the chance to surpass Conrad in the fourth and final set, coming as close as 5-5 before the Chieftain’s responded with an eight-point run to jump out to a 13-5 advantage. Another run put New Britain down 10 at 19-9 before Conard won the final set 25-10 to advance to the second round.
The Chieftains will see the No. 4 Hamden Thursday. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, finish their season 13-8.
“This past season we started with fire and ended with fire in our eyes, we wanted to win,” Andujar said. “We worked hard enough to get a home game for states and we worked hard enough to try to win one game.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org