COLCHESTER – Champlain Valley Union’s Taylor Detch spent the time in between points at the Division I girls volleyball championship dancing and cheering on her teammates.
But when it came down to it, the junior hitter was all busi-ness.
Detch delivered a key kill to give the Redhawks momentum in the decisive fifth set and then hit a serve that Essex could not return to give CVU the 16-14 win in the final frame.
“It’s so good,” Detch said. “I came in with confidence and I knew my team could do it. We did it.”
CVU beat the top-seeded Hornets 15-25, 25-22, 25-19, 24-26, 16-14 to capture the state title – their second as a program in the four-year history of the sport.
“I told them it was really going to boil down to who wanted it more, who was willing to work for it,” CVU coach Jeanne Nauheimer said. “This team has proven over and over again … that they were ready to keep pushing and keep on playing as far as they could go.”
Detch led the Redhawks with 13 kills and 17 digs. Reilly Wells chipped in with three aces and five kills, while adding six blocks, to help the team hand Essex its first loss of the season.
Audrey Olson had 11 blocks for CVU, while Mekkena Boyd added eight kills. Lena Hansen dug out 17 balls and Sarah Johnson had six assists for the Redhawks.
“They all really showed how much they wanted it,” Nau-heimer said.
The undefeated Hornets had only dropped two sets in the regular season but quickly found themselves on the short end of 2-1 CVU lead.
“You’ve just got to believe, know that you can do it,” Detch said. “There’s no regret.”
In the fourth set, as the Redhawks tried to put the game away, the Hornets had an eight-point run to take a 10-3 lead, then the two teams traded points until CVU tied the match 24-24. Essex found a way to score the next two points to earn a 26-24 win and force the decisive fifth set.
“I told them before the fifth set that anything that happened before, good or bad, did not matter,” Naumheimer said. “It was only about the next 15 and they really showed up.”
The fifth frame was a back-and-forth affair with the two teams trading points. A quick three-point spurt put CVU in the lead 13-10 then Detch hit a big kill to give them the 14-11 lead.
Essex fought back to make it 14-14 but a couple of bobbles by the sure-handed Hornets returned the ball to the Redhawks.
Detch again came through, this time on the service game to give her team the 16-14 win.
“Volleyball is my life, my passion,” Detch said. “I am just so glad all the hard work paid off.”
It was the fourth time Essex and CVU had met in the finals, with CVU getting the win in the first matchup but the Hornets coming up with the title the last two seasons.
The Redhawks finished the season with a 15-2 record.