NJSIAA Girls Volleyball Tourney Roundup

Southern Regional, Barnegat Reach End of Girls Volleyball State Tournament Road in Semifinals

By David Biggy | Nov 20, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy Senior Gianna Schiattarella and the Southern Regional girls volleyball team ended the season in the NJSIAA Group IV semifinals, where they dropped a 2-0 contest to North Hunterdon on Nov. 13

Southern Ocean County — The road toward possible NJSIAA group championships ended in the semifinals for both the Southern Regional and Barnegat girls volleyball teams, as they each ended up losing to higher-seeded teams, 2-0.

For the 31st-seeded Bengals, the upset-driven path took them to Northern Valley-Demarest to face the third-seeded Norsemen in the Group II semis on Nov. 13, and Demarest seized the momentum immediately, grabbing a 6-0 lead in the first game.

The Bengals closed to within 9-4, but the Norsemen won six of the next seven points to take a commanding 14-5 lead. Demarest built an 18-9 lead before finishing with seven of the last eight points to win the first game, 25-10.

In the second game, the Bengals and Norsemen traded runs at the outset, and Barnegat took a temporary 4-3 lead before Demarest won five straight points to go up 8-4. The Bengals (15-11) chipped away at the lead and later tied the game at 15-15 before Demarest (21-4) ran off a few two-point spurts to push its lead to four, 20-16. Barnegat closed to within three, 21-18, before the Norsemen won four of the next five points for a 25-19 final.

Victoria Tikhomirova led the Bengals’ offense with four kills and managed four digs to go along with two aces, while Gilana Fitzmaurice delivered three kills, five blocks and four digs, and Patria Moreno recorded six digs, nine assists and an ace. Nine Soberano scored 12 digs as well.

Barnegat’s improbable run started by defeating 32nd-seeded Vernon on Oct. 30 and was followed by a 2-1 victory over second-seeded Ramsey, a 2-0 win over 15th-seeded Madison and a 2-1 triumph over 26th-seeded Voorhees on Nov. 9. Demarest a few days later won the Group II championship with a two-game sweep of top-seeded Rutherford to win its second straight group title.

As for Southern, the fourth-seeded Rams on Nov. 13 squared off against familiar foe, top-seeded North Hunterdon, which defeated Southern in the Group IV finale last year. The Rams started the match well, taking a 9-5 lead over the Lions. However, North Hunterdon ran off nine of the next 12 points to grab a 14-12 lead, then finished off by winning 11 of the next 20 points for a 25-21 win in the first game.

The second game was close at the outset as well, with North Hunterdon taking a 6-4 lead after 10 points had been played. The Lions (27-2) then took control by scoring seven of the next nine for a 13-6 advantage, and then dropped the hammer on the Rams (32-4) by scoring 12 of the next 14 points for a 25-8 win and the title.

Senior Gianna Schiattarella finished with four kills, four digs and an ace, while senior Riley Vaughn ended with three kills and a block, and junior Rachael Pharo mustered three kills and 10 digs. Setter Stephanie Soares handed out 12 assists to go along with a pair of kills. Adrianna Conforti served up a pair of aces, Emma Gildea added two kills and Madison Gellis recorded five digs.

A few days later, North Hunterdon lost a 2-0 match to third-seeded Williamstown, the only other team to beat Southern this season, in the Group IV championship match.

David Biggy

Senior Gilana Fitzmaurice and the Barnegat girls volleyball team ended the season in the NJSIAA Group II semifinals, where they dropped a 2-0 contest to Northern Valley-Demarest on Nov. 13. (Photo by: David Biggy)
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