NEW BRITAIN – The Bristol Eastern girls volleyball team won its sixth straight match in its 3-0 victory against New Britain on Wednesday at New Britain High School.
Hannah Webber brought the power for the Lancers, securing 23 kills over the course of the match and proved to be the difference as all three sets came down to the wire.
Eastern needed extra time to take the first set, 27-25, before it won set two, 25-21, then the Lancers edged out the Hurricanes, 25-23, late to improve their record to 6-1.
“We moved positions, so she’s still getting used to her new position, but she’s a force out there for sure,” Eastern coach Stefanie Reay said about Webber.
The senior spiker added two aces and six digs to round out the impressive performance.
On the other side of the net, New Britain was great defensively, but couldn’t compete with the Lancers outside hitters in Webber and Lauren Bender.
“We’re just missing that one more player that can put the ball away, but we’re getting there,” Hurricanes coach Michelle Abraham said. “Kaylee [Cahill] had a great hit in the third game and once she realizes she’s capable of doing that, we’re going to be that much stronger.”
Wendy Garcia led New Britain defensively with 16 digs and also registered seven service points and two aces. Eastern had to work hard all night to earn its points and rarely held an advantage that was more than three or four points.
“They’re always like that,” Reay said regarding New Britain’s defense. “They do a great job getting balls up everywhere. They were able to read our girls really well. Our girls have to start swinging in other places, which they’re not really quite that good at yet. They’re still working on it. [New Britain] was everywhere. They did a fantastic job on the back row.”
The Hurricanes nearly forced a fourth set, but a couple of well-placed serves combined with a Webber spike sent the Lancers away on top.
“They have been doing a lot on the court and even team-building things off the court, to be able to trust each other and learn to play next to each other, because this is a fresh start,” Reay said. “I lost a ton of seniors last year. They know that and they know there’s a lot of work to do and they’re putting in the work on the court and off the court.”
Abby Jones played well for Eastern too, totaling 34 assists, four aces and four digs.
Kelly Alape contributed 23 assists, three aces and eight service points for the hosts.
The loss ends New Britain’s two-game win streak, however spirits are still high around a program that has hung in just about every game so far this season.
“We’re only in game five and we’re playing Simsbury, Glastonbury, Bristol Eastern, one of the better schools, they’re playing them close,” Abraham said. “It could go either way. Defensively and again, our energy and enthusiasm our like no other year. I think our girls are super excited to play and not have another complete year of covid and move forward with it.”
Eastern will look to keep the streak going when it visits Platt on Monday at 6p.m., while New Britain (2-3) will travel to Windsor on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.