King sweeps St. Luke’s to reach NEPSAC volleyball final
STAMFORD — Every step now is historic. Every statistic is a footnote.
It all adds up to the King School girls volleyball team being one victory away from completing back-to-back 20-0 undefeated seasons.
King moved to the precipice of its third New England Prep School Athletic Conference (NEPSAC) Class C championship in four years Friday as the No. 1 seeded Vikings swept No. 4 seed St. Luke’s School, 25-11, 25-8, 25-8 in the semifinals in its home gym.
“Every year the goal is to get to this place. And here we are once again in the NEPSAC final,” said King junior Kelly Conheeney. “We are a very competitive group that wants to win. We especially want to win a title for our (five) seniors.”
King will be hosting the NEPSAC final Sunday at 1 p.m. The Vikings will face the winner of Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. semifinal between No. 6 seed Bancroft School of Worcester, Mass. and No. 2 seed MacDuffie School of Granby, Mass.
There will be no complacency for King on Sunday. The last time the King girls volleyball program lost was the 2014 NEPSAC Class C semifinal when Winchendon Academy beat King in a match played at Wilbraham & Monson School in Massachusetts.
The pain of that defeat still lingers. But the most important thing King has done since is understand the importance of being the No. 1 seed and hosting home games in the quarterfinals and semifinals the last two years. King has also served as the host gym for the last two NEPSAC Championship matches.
Staying off the bus and sleeping late in your own beds has been just as important for King as its immensely talented squads.
Since King had beaten St. Luke’s (10-7 overall) 3-0 during the Fairchester Athletic Association regular season, it had a good idea of what to expect.
And St. Luke’s played like a young squad still finding its way on the postseason stage.
In Game 1, King used a 7-0 run for a 13-4 edge that became a 25-11 triumph.
In Game 2, King jumped out 6-0 and 11-2 before a 7-0 run gave them a 20-5 edge. The Vikings won 25-8.
In Game 3, King led 4-0 and 10-1 before a 6-0 surge settled things at 16-4. King won again, 25-8.
King was able to give most of its roster a taste of NEPSAC glory.
In the end, it was a historic moment for St. Luke’s as well.
The Storm had a number of 0-14 records in the past and was tossed out of the FAA girls volleyball.
Friday showed how far back the St. Luke’s girls volleyball program has come.
“I told the girls to be proud of their effort and being in the NEPSAC semifinals. This moment will be part of the legacy of St. Luke’s volleyball,” said St. Luke’s coach Abby Bielski. “This is a long way from 0-14 and out of the FAA.”
This young Storm squad — which came as spectators to watch King’s FAA Tournament semifinal win over Greenwich Academy last week — got a firsthand look at how much further they have to travel as a program.
“King’s performance was a glimpse of where I want to take them,” St. Luke’s Bielski said. “King runs such a fast offense. Very low sets and hard kills. We need to be quicker. King showed us what happens with a great system and a veteran coach.”
And King stands one win away from repeating perfection. And a 40th straight victory.
“Now it’s about playing for the seniors. There’s really not much I can say to them,” said King coach Tung Tran. “I keep it fun and positive. It’s all about execution this time of year.”
“The time until Sunday will tick down slowly,” said King senior tri-captain Cara Shattan. “But the time in the gym during Sunday’s final will go fast. The seniors are looking forward to a special finale.”
NEPSAC CLASS C SEMIFINALS
KING 3, ST. LUKE’S 0
ST. LUKE’S 11 8 8—0
KING 25 25 25—3
Records: St. Luke’s 10-7 overall; King 19-0 overall.
Highlights: K—Sophie Hunt 6 service points in Game 2, 7 digs; Kelly Conheeney 6 kills, 14 service points, 7 digs; Ali Wheeler 9 digs; Cara Shattan 15 service points, 11 assists; Stephanie Costabile 11 service points, 13 digs; Ava Robinowitz 7 kills.
Note: No. 1 seed King will host the NEPSAC Class C final Sunday at 1 p.m. King will play the winner of Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. semifinal between No. 6 seed Bancroft School of Worcester, Mass and No. 2 seed MacDuffie School of Granby, Mass.