RHAM volleyball wins 2nd straight title, sweeping Woodland for CIAC Class M crown

EAST HAVEN – RHAM had three players graduate from the team that beat Simsbury for the 2021 CIAC Class L title.

The Raptors didn’t lose a step this fall, grabbing their second consecutive state crown, this time in Class M with a 3-0 (25-13, 25-20, 25-21) victory over Woodland Saturday night at East Haven High School.

It’s the ninth title for the Raptors since 2007.

“It’s a very similar team and the makeup is the same,” RHAM coach Tim Guernsey said. “We had some kids step up who were on the floor last year and we were hungry to prove something in Class M.”

It also helped the returning Raptors to have experience in a state championship setting.

“It was a comfortable environment for them,” Guernsey said. “It’s not too big for us.”

Ally Hadley, who was named the Most Valuable Player, just shook her head afterwards.

“When I was little, I wanted to win a state championship, never mind back-to-back,” Hadley said. “It’s insane.”

RHAM (24-3) went out to an early 11-5 lead in the first set, extended it to 20-12 and when a Woodland shot went out of bounds, the Raptors had a 25-13 victory in the opening game and a 1-0 lead.

Woodland controlled the early stages of the second set of the night, grabbing a 9-6 edge as the Raptors made a few mistakes. But RHAM went on an 8-2 run to take over and Leilani Fecho finished off a 25-20 win when she blasted a shot from the left side that hit the floor.

The Hawks again grabbed an early lead in the third game, 5-1.

“We realized if we didn’t keep the energy up, we’d lose the third game,” Hadley said. “We didn’t want to go to a fourth.”

RHAM rallied from there, taking the lead for good at 17-16. The celebration was on for the Raptors after a kill up the middle by Alison Polochanin closed it out at 25-21.

“We were outgunned,” Woodland coach Jim Amato said. “We’re usually pretty good coming from behind, but not tonight. Maybe it was the weight of the match. We fought hard, but we got beat. The better team took it to us.”

Woodland finished with a 24-3 record.

“If you watched us in September, we had no right to be in the championship game,” Amato said. “But the girls worked hard and earned the right to be here.”

RHAM 3, WOODLAND 0

(25-13, 25-20, 25-21)

RHAM – Ally Hadley, 12 kills and 16 digs; Leilani Fecho, 17 kills and 13 digs; Sarah West, 6 kills; Neve Tyler, 22 digs.

Woodland – Kallie Legassey, 24 digs and 6 kills; Samantha Sosnovich, 17 digs; Mallie Ianniruberto, 6 kills; Emma Fabrizzi, 21 assists; Ava Cratty, 5 kills.

Records: RHAM, 24-3; Woodland 24-3.