Farmington Rallies to Advance to Finals

NEW BRITAIN- Volleyball is a game of momentum, and the Farmington High Indians validated that notion with an impressive 3-2 comeback victory over four-seed and defending Class M State Champions Ledyard Thursday night.

The Indians dropped the first two games of Thursday’s match 25-21 and 25-22, but despite this deficit, Farmington never lost focus or backed down.

“To come back from being down 2-0 in the state semifinals shows character, determination, confidence, and that they’ll never give up,” Farmington head coach Laura Arena said of her team.  “It just really came down to momentum and belief.”

In the first game, the Ledyard Colonels consistently held the lead.  The Colonels were able to contain Farmington’s offense with big blocking up front, and won the game 25-21.

“We knew coming into the game that they had a really big double-block,” Farmington junior Sophie Borg said of Ledyard.

The same defensive presence continued for Ledyard in the second game; though Farmington showed life, matching Ledyard nearly point for point.  Ultimately, Ledyard pulled away at 21-21, winning the game 25-22.

After losing the first two games, the Indians made adjustments not only in strategy, but also in intensity.

“One of our assets is our energy and enthusiasm, and we didn’t really have that,” Arena said of her team’s play early in the match.  “We moved some people around to go up against their big height.”

Adjustments in strategy aside, the biggest lift Farmington received was from junior libero Devon Michaelis.  Michaelis provided not only outstanding work defensively, finishing the game with 18 digs, but was the energy the Indians were lacking.

“We have a very deep team, but I think my libero was all over the place keeping balls in,” Arena said of Michaelis.  “It all starts with her.”

In the third game, Farmington pulled away from Ledyard with well-placed serves from senior Sydney Stepeck, and a solid defensive team-effort led by Michaelis.  The Indians went up by six points with a score of 17-11 after Stepeck was done serving and held that lead to win game three 25-17.

Farmington distanced itself from Ledyard early in the fourth game, winning by a score of 25-19.  The Colonels looked deflated upon seeing their 2-0 advantage disappear.  The momentum of the match had completely shifted in Farmington’s favor, and the decisive fifth game was a lopsided 15-6 victory for the Indians.

“We were very confident after winning that third game,” Michaelis said.  “We knew nothing was getting in our way.”

“We always talk about playing with high energy and high intensity, and I think that’s exactly what we did,” Borg, who led the Indians with 29 assists, said of her team’s turnaround.  “It was a team effort in the end.”

With the victory, the top-seed Indians secured their spot in the Class L State Championship game to be played Saturday at 4pm in Berlin vs. 2 RHAM.  Farmington knocked off rival Avon in the second round and E.O. Smith in the quarterfinals before Thursday’s semifinal with Ledyard.

Laura Roman (12 kills), Sara Lipinkski (10 kills), and Annika Anderson (10 kills) led the Indians offensively.

“We got beat by a team that is a little better and played a little better,” Ledyard head coach Rich Duwelius said of the match.  “They dig a lot of balls, have excellent setting, served very well, and are good in transition.”

“I’m so proud of my girls,” Arena said.  “They had a goal and they are one-step closer to it.”

For more pictures from the game click HERE






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