In the Southern Connecticut Conference semifinals on Thursday, Cheshire High School girls’ volleyball (third seed, 16-5) came up just short of making a ninth straight final appearance, falling 3-2 (19-25, 25-20, 25-23, 22-25, 13-15) at Shelton (second seed, 18-3).
The Gaelettes used a 5-0 run to close out the first set, but Cheshire responded by winning the next two games. A kill by senior Emma Watkinson capped a 3-0 spurt to end the second set.
Shelton erased five game points in the third set, but junior Alenna Zebarth hit a kill to finish the frame.
Down 2-1 in the match, Shelton responded by winning game four. CHS fought off three game points before the Gaelettes closed the door to force a decisive set.
Shelton won the opening three points of game five, but CHS rallied to take three two-point leads (7-5, 8-6, 10-8) The Gaelettes reeled off four points to go up 12-10, but two kills by senior co-captain Lindsey Abramson helped the Rams tie the game at 13-13.
In a key spot, junior Jessica Jayakar posted consecutive kills to clinch the victory and propel Shelton into their first conference final since 2010. The Gaelettes took a 2-1 lead in the season series with the Rams, who entered the semifinal as the two-time defending SCC Champion.
On her birthday, senior co-captain Ari Perlini recorded a career-high 29 digs and added an ace for Cheshire. In the first set, she made five digs in a single rally.
Abramson tallied a career-high 18 kills, to go with seven digs and five aces. Watkinson contributed 37 assists, eight kills (personal high), four digs, and three aces.
The Rams now await seeding for the Class LL Tournament.