Volleyball: Ludlowe’s service game leads sweeps past Warde
FAIRFIELD - There were times during the match that Warde girls’ volleyball coach Matt Narwold could only stand there, with his hands in his pockets as service point after service points rained down on his Mustangs’ squad from the Ludlowe side of the net.
Or, if his hands weren’t in his pockets, there were on his hips as he watched the Falcons’ servers score again and again and again.
In volleyball, solid serving and of course, momentum, are everything and Monday night, Ludlowe had both in droves. An eight-point run from Lily Traum in the first set turned a close game into a rout, a seven-point run from Molly Reynolds in set two became a second easy win and Ludlowe went on to roll past its town-rival in straight sets at the Falcons’ gym.
Scores were: 25-15, 25-16, 25-20.
“Meg’s (Ludlowe coach Meghan Skelton) got a great serving team this year, they come out super aggressive, all six of them,” Narwold said. “You never get a break, you never get that one where you kind of get a lollypop over. We serve one over, they go back and they serve three or four, like you’re supposed to do. That gets them the momentum.
“And when we get a side out, we make a service error or some kind of other mistake that gives them another service run and that makes it much more challenging to compete against.”
Traum finished the match with 16 service points, while Reynolds added nine. Two huge reasons why Ludlowe powered its way over Warde.
“Serving and passing is everything in volleyball and we’ve been focusing on that,” Skelton said. “I thought the girls did a really good job with that, Lily in particular. That’s exactly what we needed at the right time, but all the girls were on tonight.”
Leading just 14-13 in the first set, Traum went back to serve and reeled off an eight-point run, making it 22-13 and putting Ludlowe in command.
“I get into that rhythm and I just want to keep going,” Traum said. “I kind of wanted to just shut them up (the Warde students), I just wanted to keep getting points and keep the momentum with us.”
In set two, Ludlowe was leading 5-4 before Reynolds put together a seven-point service run to push the advantage to 12-4 and at 19-11, Traum again served up four straight winners to make it 23-12.
“When Molly goes to serve, I always let out a breath, because I know that good things are going to happen,” Traum said. “Molly is an amazing server and we’re able to breathe when she comes up because we know she’s going to get us a lot of points.”
In set three, Ludlowe held a commanding 22-12 lead but the Mustangs kept on fighting, closing the gap to 23-20 before the Falcons’ put the game away.
“This is a great group of girls here. I took 18 on varsity,” Narwold said. “We’ve had to battle through some injuries … I’m not making excuses. Meg’s got a great team but not having a couple of our starters out there didn’t help us.
“Overall, the season has been one of ups and downs, a roller coaster, especially when it comes to serve-receive. We compete … in a close match with Greenwich, our service games were on and tonight. We’re just sporadic.”
Warde is currently 8-10 overall, 5-8 in the FCIAC and will finish out the regular season today against Ridgefield. Ludlowe (13-4, 10-4 FCIAC) is still fighting to finish in the top four and capture a quarterfinal home game.
“It would be huge,” Skelton said. “It would mean everything. Regardless of where we are, we’re in it to win it and the girls are coming together at the right time.”
Added Traum: “It’s big, it’s exciting. I’m so excited to go into the postseason. The last time we were in the postseason was my freshman year (Traum was on JV) and I was in the stands. And now I get to be a part of it, so it’s exciting.”
LUDLOWE 3, WARDE 0
WARDE 16 15 20
LUDLOWE 25 25 25
Highlights: Warde - Aleysha Henry had eight service points, two aces and two kills, Emma Ibanez had six service points, two aces, one block, three kills and five digs.
Ludlowe - Lily Traum had 16 service points, six aces, two kills and 17 assists, Jo Blanco had one ace, five service points, six kills, two blocks and three digs, Jess Takami had nine digs and two assists, Margaret Nolan had three aces, seven service points, eight kills and three digs.