BRISTOL - With two wins needed to qualify for the state tournament, the St. Paul girls volleyball team got one step closer with a sweep over visiting Goodwin Tech on Wednesday.
“We all really came to play tonight,” Julianna Iacovelli said. “We need to win this in order to get to states, so we all came in with the mentality that it is now or never.”
The Falcons won with scores of 25-19, 25-19 and 25-18.
For the Gladiators, inconsistency hurt, while the aggressiveness of St. Paul impressed them.
“They attacked well and played the first ball well to set up their attack,” Goodwin Tech coach Paul Soucy said. “Overall we played their attacks halfway decent. We just need to get the ball to the center better.”
Goodwin Tech had a solid performance from Tanija Russell.
“Tanija played pretty well,” Goodwin Tech coach Paul Soucy said. “She was all over the court saving balls for us.”
Iacovelli led St. Paul with eight kills.
“We’re not really used to players who are able to recover balls like they can, so it was interesting to see how they managed to get each ball over well,” Iacovelli said.
Serving has been important for the Gladiators this season, but against St. Paul, the service game was inconsistent.
“When we serve we’re OK, but we didn’t get a lot of service points in a row,” Soucy said. “When we play well we’ll see Tanija hitting four, five or six service points in a row, followed up by Leina [Rivera].”
Iacovelli was consistently being set up by Alexis Carabetta.
“I wasn’t a middle hitter last year, but this year coach put me in, and me and [Carabetta] work with each other. It’s about communicating with your setter and knowing when to hit and when not to hit.”
For the Falcons, their service game was strong.
“Their serves were harder than the other teams we’ve faced and they had good attacks,” Russell said.
On the court for the Gladiators, communicating better has been an emphasis this season, specifically throughout the entire game.
“At the beginning we were doing a lot of communication, but as the sets continued it wasn’t as good,” Russell said.
While one win away from qualifying for the tournament, the Falcons still have work to do.
“The biggest thing we need to work on is defense and coverage,” St. Paul coach Ashley Blumenthal said.
On the other side, the Gladiators have already qualified for the tournament and will look to step up against strong competition.
“We’re going to see this kind of competition in the league tournament and state tournament,” Soucy said.
“We need to play more consistent. We’re just not doing well against the better teams we face.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at or On Twitter: @OrencoleDan