Ludlowe sweeps St. Joseph in FCIAC girls volleyball quarterfinals
TRUMBULL — Girls volleyball in the FCIAC has proven unpredictable and that trend continued in Tuesday’s conference quarterfinal between Fairfield Ludlowe and St. Joseph.
The sixth-seeded Falcons, who lost to the Cadets 3-2 just two weeks ago, dominated at the net and at the serving stripe on their way to a 3-0 victory over No. 3 St. Joseph at SJHS.
“This has been a funky year for the FCIAC,” Ludlowe head coach Meghan Skelton said. “Everyone has kind of beaten each other so the seeding is thrown out the window and it’s anyone’s game.”
That couldn’t have been truer than in Tuesday’s match with the Falcons playing like the higher seed. Now they’ve advanced the FCIAC semifinals for the first time since 2015 when they won the championship. The Falcons will play host to No. 2 Trumbull, which beat No. 7 Ridgefield in the quarters, on Thursday.
Ludlowe’s front line of Amy Lumaj (6-foot-4), Maddie Corbett (6-foot-2 ½) and Jackie Soderlund (6-foot-3) dominated at the net throughout the match. Setter Lily Traum, who ended up with 30 assists, received high praise from Skelton.
“We have a really strong hitting team so I feel comfortable setting almost anyone on the court,” said Traum, a senior. “It’s nice to know those are my options and I can count on anyone to put it away.”
The Falcons came out strong in the first and never gave up the lead although the Cadets kept it close. St. Joseph answered in the second and held the lead early on until the serving of Molly Cronin was instrumental in the Falcons taking their first lead at 14-13 and they never looked back.
“Molly came up huge,” Skelton said. “She was so consistent and did a phenomenal job.”
The third was back and forth with 11 ties and eight lead changes. Traum had one of her two kills to give the Falcons a 20-19 lead and Margaret Nolan and Lumaj combined on a block for a 21-19 advantage and Ludlowe was on its way.
St. Joseph head coach Jeff Babineau admitted his team didn’t play well but gave all the credit to Ludlowe.
“Ludlowe came to play with a lot of emotion and athleticism,” he said. “They deserved to win and took us out of the gym. They have a lot of weapons.”
Skelton said her team is read
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Margaret Nolan, Fairfield Ludlowe
The junior outside hitter racked up 11 kills, seven service points, three aces and six digs to help lift the Trojans to a 3-0 win over St. Joseph in the FCIAC quarterfinals.
Lily Traum, Fairfield Ludlowe
The senior setter was able to get the ball to her hitters and had 30 assists with five digs and two kills in the Falcons’ 3-0 FCIAC quarterfinal victory.
“Ludlowe can win it,” Babineau said of the Falcons’ chances of capturing the league title. “They really could. They’re that talented.”
“The energy from my team was absolutely amazing,” Nolan said. “Even the bench was up the whole team, Lily was setting great and it was all-around successful.”
“We had a tough loss to them (St. Joseph) in five and we did not play well here in this gym,” Skelton said. “The girls were motivated to come back. We know they’re a team that thrives on momentum so we wanted to make sure they didn’t get it. That was our big focus.”
LUDLOWE 3, ST. JOSEPH 0
LUDLOWE 25 25 25 —3
ST. JOSEPH 20 16 22 —0
Records: Fairfield Ludlowe 16-4, St. Joseph 15-5. Highlights: L—Margaret Nolan (11 kills, 6 digs, 7 service points, 3 aces), Lily Traum (30 assists, 2 kills, 5 digs), Jackie Soderlund (7k, 3 blocks), Jess Takami (14d); SJ—Elena Ball (14 kills, 1 ace), Maddie Johnson (6k, 1b, 1 ace), Allie Petronchak (21 assists).