NEW BRITAIN – The Innovation girls volleyball team dropped its second match of the season in its 3-1 loss to Weaver on Tuesday.
The Ravens won the first set, 28-26, but proceeded to lose three straight sets in their first loss at home this year.
“Part of it is nerves, part of it is just chemistry, and I told the girls, through three sets it was pretty solid,” Innovation coach Matt Lance said. “That last set, obviously we talked about that, was not acceptable. That's not what we're about as a program, but I also told them it's either going to happen and we're going to learn nothing from it, or we have to take it as a learning experience.”
The Ravens kept it close in sets two and three, losing 25-21 and 25-19, before the Beavers ran away with a 25-4 match-clinching fourth set.
“You look at those [first] three sets, I think those were pretty tight and they honestly could've gone either way,” Lance said. “I think it's something we'll learn from and get better from. It's still really early in the season.”
Daniah Sawyer sealed the first-set win for Innovation with an ace during the marathon opening frame. Aces and service points seemed to bring the Ravens success when it was clicking, especially when Ashley Palombizio and Madison Ramos smacked the ball over the net.
The pair each went on lengthy runs throughout the contest to stockpile points for Innovation.
“When we moved our serve around, especially Ashley, it caused a lot of problems,” Lance said. “Early in the match, we were just scrappy. It doesn't have to be pretty volleyball, but you want to get every ball up and you want to make them play one more ball.
“I thought earlier in the match, we showed some reserve, we were gritty, we played a lot of points out through the first three sets,” Lance said.
Palombizio concluded with 12 kills to pace the Ravens while Ciarimar Vicente added two kills.
The defeat gives Innovation a 3-2 record with its only other loss coming against Canton on Sept. 15. Wins against Capital Prep, University and Civic Leadership have given this year's inexperienced Ravens group confidence early on.
“Experience-wise, maybe not age, but experience-wise we're a very young team,” Lance said. “Even our girls who played last year are playing in different positions. Technically I think we have one returning girl who is playing in the position they played in last year.
“I think what's encouraging about this team is I think every single game, we're just going to keep getting better and better and better,” Lance said. “We're so inexperienced at some things that once they catch on, it's going to be nice.”
Innovation strives to qualify for the postseason again this season after earning the No. 21 seed in 2019 with a 10-9 regular season record. St. Paul beat the Ravens, 3-0, in the first-round matchup.
Innovation will try and get back to its winning ways when it hosts Classical Magnet on Thursday at 5 p.m.
Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.