East Hampton volleyball rallies past Hale Ray in CIAC Class S final for first state title

EAST HAVEN – Two weeks ago, East Hampton defeated Hale Ray to claim the Shoreline Conference volleyball championship.

Facing the Noises again on Saturday, the Bellringers captured a second title, and this time they did it in dramatic fashion.

East Hampton overcame a two-set deficit and defeated Hale Ray 3-2 in the CIAC Class S final in East Haven, winning the first state championship in program history.

Coming back from the brink was a matter of starting over and momentum.

“What’s great about volleyball is that every set is new,” East Hampton coach Molly Grabowski said. “I just told them we’re done with whatever happened and this is a new set. We still need to win three, so let’s go.”

“We just weren't playing our game and we realized that we had to in order to win,” said senior Jordan Murphy, who was named the tournament MVP. “I’m very proud of us all. We’ve played Hale Ray multiple times before and we knew that we could do it. We’re both two very strong teams.”

The fourth-seeded Bellringers (22-2) were playing in their first CIAC final, while No. 2 seed Hale Ray (22-3) has been in the title match five times without a win. The Noises have been Class S runners-up three times in six seasons.

The game also marked the fourth meeting of the Shoreline powers this season. East Hampton won the final three matches, accounting for all of Hale Ray’s losses this fall.

“We’ve only lost to one team all season and it happens to be East Hampton,” Hale Ray coach Karen Sweet said. “They’re a great volleyball team, we know we can play with them and we know we’re great too. We’ve played in every possible game this season and I’m really proud of them for that.”

East Hampton’s comeback was actually its second in the last two games, as they rallied from a 2-1 deficit and eliminated No. 1 Griswold 3-2 in the semifinals on Tuesday. Jordan Murphy had 21 kills and 15 digs in that match.

The teams were tied 16-16 in the first set before Hale Ray pulled away for a six-point win. The Noises fell behind 21-11 in the second frame before staging a rally of their own, finishing with a 14-2 run to take a two-set lead.

But the Bellringers responded, jumping out to another lead in the third and again in the fourth before tying the score. The final frame was tied 2-2 when East Hampton won three straight and took the lead for good.

Setter Chelsea Woods helped drive the offense, with big hits from sisters Jordan and Jenna Murphy, and Mackenzie Player.

“Jordan really earned the MVP,” Grabowski said. “She came out strong, and I said get her the ball. She wanted it, she knew what to do with it and she was going to put it down.”

Hale Ray was led by its lone senior Brooke Praskiewvicz, who had 11 kills and helped lead the second-set comeback.

“We have one senior and all the rest are either juniors or sophomores and sometimes maturity matters in those moments,” Sweet said. “To be able to do that (in the second set) in a game like this, I’m really proud of them. The future looks bright with all of the work they’ve done this season.”


Jordan Murphy, East Hampton: The senior earned MVP honors after lead the Bellringers’ comeback with several booming kills in the last three sets, She seemed to pick up steam as the match progressed.


“The seniors are tremendous leaders. There’s three of them - Reagan (Burt), Jenna and Jordan (Murphy) - and they’re quiet as a group but they really do what they need to do. They work hard every day, they keep everything even keel with the team, so everybody sees them comfortable and you could tell.” - East Hampton coach Molly Grabowski

David.Stewart@hearstmediact.com; @dstewartsports


East Hampton 19 23 25 25 15 — 3

Hale Ray 25 25 16 14 8 — 2

East Hampton: Jordan Murphy MVP

Hale Ray: Brooke Praskievicz 11 kills, 3 aces; Kaleigh Purdell 3 blocks.

Records: East Hampton 22-2; Hale Ray 22-3.