The Cheshire Rams trailed during just one set en route to a sweep of Joel Barlow Regional (Redding) Friday in an SCC/SWC inter-conference showdown–3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-11).

Barlow led 20-16 late in the first set as Matt Cruz asserted himself as a strong middle hitter at the net. The Rams rallied to score nine of the next 13 points.

”They pushed pace on us,” Cheshire coach Sue Bavone said. “Their middle got going quite a bit in the first game, which we were having a little difficulty slowing him down, but once we started helping out on the block I think that helped us out a lot.”

Bavone credited senior and three-year starter Mitch Manware for keying the defensive effort. Manware had four digs in the match.

”Whenever our team gets down, we like to tip a lot because we feel safer doing that,” Manware said. She just told us to keep swinging, staying aggressive, and eventually we’d stay on top of them, which we did.”

Cheshire (2-0) avenged a loss to Joel Barlow in a season-opening match-up last year. Mike Stickney added five kills, while setter Matt Russilillo put up 24 assists.

The Falcons (3-1) suffered their first loss. Cruz had 10 kills and three service aces.

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