Girls volleyball: Ridgefield tops Westhill

With the FCIAC playoffs less than a week away, the Ridgefield High girls volleyball team appears to be regaining momentum.

After having their long unbeaten start to the season end with back-to-back losses, the Tigers have now won three straight matches. The latest triumph came Wednesday evening at home, as Ridgefield defeated Westhill, 3-1.

The Tigers, who improved their record to 14-2, have clinched a berth in the eight-team conference playoffs, which begin with quarterfinal matches next Monday. With one regular-season match remaining, Ridgefield is third in the FCIAC overall standings — the top-four teams host quarterfinal contests.

After looking disorganized in the early stages of the first set against Westhill, Ridgefield came together to pull ahead and post a 25-19 victory. The Tigers then settled into an aggressive rhythm as they coasted to an easy 25-15 victory in the second set.

Trouble arrived for Ridgefield in the third set. The Vikings set the tone early, establishing a lead and playing stifling defense to keep Ridgefield on its heels. Trailing 23-16, the Tigers scored six unanswered points to pull within one. But the offense sputtered after that, and Westhill edged out a 25-23 victory.

Ridgefield came back strong in the fourth set, establishing an early lead en route to a 25-19 triumph that ended the match.

“We kind of dug ourselves a hole in that third set,” said Ridgefield head coach Lidania Cibere. “Then we made a great comeback. And then that momentum carried us into that final set.”

Cibere was pleased with her squad’s discipline and and team-oriented play in the win against a good Westhill team, which is now 13-6 overall.

“I thought Alicia [Hill] in the middle did a good job,” she said. “[Caroline] Curnal’s always going to have good nights; she was great at the net. But it was a team effort. We stayed aggressive. We started picking it off and then we were hitting down at [Westhill].”

Curnal finished with 17 kills, three digs and two blocks for Ridgefield. Hill had 10 kills, and Nicole Nielsen added 13 digs. Freshman setter Olivia Wanicka contributed 25 assists.

“We’re just gearing up for FCIAC playoffs next week,” said Cibere after the victory. “But I thought we did well. We got the win … that’s always good.”