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  • Greg Lederer

Orlins And CHS Boys' Volleyball Reach State Finals, Girls' LAX Team Drops Class L Semi

Cheshire tennis player Alex Orlins has advanced to the girls' singles state finals for the second year in a row. Photo by Greg Lederer.

by Greg Lederer

Cheshire Sports Media

In Tuesday’s girls’ tennis singles semifinals of the Connecticut Invitational Tournament, Cheshire High School junior Alex Orlins (top seed, 19-0) battled to win 6-3, 2-6, 12-10 over New Canaan freshman Leah Zheng at Conard in West Hartford.

On Wednesday at the same site, Orlins seeks a second straight title when facing Branford junior Peyton Gaudreau at 3:30 p.m.

Boys’ Volleyball (third seed, 22-3)

In the Class M semifinals, Cheshire picked up their 14th consecutive victory, 3-1 (25-23, 12-25, 25-15, 25-11), over Joel Barlow (second seed, 21-2) at Naugatuck. The victory avenged Cheshire’s last loss (3-2) on April 29 in Redding.

While not playing in the first meeting, senior tri-captain Connor Hayes made his impact felt in the rematch, tallying 12 kills, four blocks, two aces, and two digs against Barlow. Fellow senior tri-captain Will Allen contributed 11 kills, three blocks, two digs, and an ace.

Sophomore Bradley Fang distributed 42 assists, along with recording three digs and two aces. 

Junior Gordon Johns supplied nine kills, three aces, a block, and a dig. Classmate Jacob D’Addona had seven kills, four digs, and three assists.

Junior tri-captain Matti Lilback served six aces. He added five kills and a dig.

On Thursday, the Rams head to Newtown to face unbeaten Simsbury (top seed, 22-0) in the final at 7 p.m.

In last year’s title match, Cheshire came up short 3-0 against Masuk.

Girls’ Lacrosse (fourth seed, 11-9)

In descending order, Mollee Merritt, Tema Caplan, Sarah Goldstein, and Tylie Lawless are pictured competing in Tuesday's Class L semi. Photos by James Brandolini.

In the Class L semifinals at Watertown, CHS fell 15-4 to top-seeded Masuk (19-3). The Panthers went up 3-0 in the first quarter and took a 8-2 lead into halftime.

“It would have been nice for us to have played a better game today. We just didn’t seem to have it,” stated Head Coach Dan Warburton. “They are very good. They were a big reason for that (how we played).”

For the Rams, junior Mollee Merritt tallied a goal and an assist, while sophomore goalkeeper Georgiana Sheehan made 10 saves. Senior tri-captains Stella Tessier and Sella Cahill and sophomore Tema Caplan also put in goals.

Junior Allie Grove and sophomore Lauren Fitzpatrick added assists.

After graduating 11 seniors in 2023, the Rams lost considerable varsity experience, but developed chemistry with a new lineup and persevered through multiple injuries to reach the state final four.

“It just shows how far we’ve come,” stated Tessier. “It was a new team this year, but we got experience together.”

“The fact that we got to this point with the youth on this team and the injuries we had, I think it’s an accomplishment,” added Warburton. “Would we have liked to play better tonight? Absolutely, but I don’t think a lot of people would have picked us as a semifinal team at the beginning of the year. So, I think that we did a lot of good things this year, but we got beat by a better team (Masuk) tonight.”

Cheshire will graduate Tessier, Cahill, and Kate Hangen. The girls served as tri-captains.

“A lot of younger girls got playing time this year,” said Cahill. “We had only three seniors, so the juniors really had to step up as leaders, as well.”

Along with teammates, Hangen appreciated the assistance of the coaching staff and trainers.

“I’m going to miss the team,” added Hangen. “The girls were really supportive.”

From left, senior tri-captains Kate Hangen, Stella Tessier, and Sella Cahill have finished their careers with CHS girls' lacrosse. Photo by Greg Lederer.

Remainder of Wednesday’s varsity schedule:

Boys’ Golf

Cheshire visits Harwinton’s Fairview Farms Golf Course for the Division I Championship at 8 a.m.

Boys’ Lacrosse (top seed, 16-4)

In the Class L semifinals at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury, the Rams play Simsbury (fifth seed, 12-7) at 7:30 p.m. Back on April 27, Cheshire posted a 15-4 victory in the first meeting.

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