There were two teams and a lot of jitters on the court yesterday evening as the Verona High School volleyball team squared off against Caldwell High School in the Essex County Tournament semifinals.
Playing at Livingston High School, the two squads, which had faced each other in last year’s ECT final, evenly traded the lead throughout the opening minutes of the first match. Coach Jeff Stiefbold called a time out, and when Verona returned to the floor, junior Brooke Cooney fired service point after service point, pushing Verona into the lead that it would hold until the 25-15 end of the match. Cooney was credited with nine service points and three aces in the game.
Carly Waterman was back to her old form, leading the Hillbillies in kills with 14. Her younger sister Kelly had a flurry of standout serves in the second match, much to the delight of Verona fans. Verona dominated much of the second match, which ended with a 25-16 score.
The ECT finals will be Saturday afternoon at Bloomfield High School, with Mount Saint Dominic Academy challenging Verona for the title. The two teams have faced each other three times this season, with Verona taking each game 2-0. This year’s final will start at 2 p.m.
And there’s been a change to the line-up for the NJSIAA Group 1 playoffs, which start next week. Emerson High School has replaced Shabazz as the number 32 seed, and will be pitted against No. 1 Verona at VHS on Tuesday, October 31.