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WILTON — It was a sluggish start for Wilton's volleyball team Monday night.

After an 11-day layoff, the Class 2A fourth-ranked Beavers had seven hitting errors in the first 20 points of the match against Durant.

Coach Brenda Grunder called timeout.

"I felt we were thinking too much about the execution of the scouting report instead of going out and just playing," Grunder said. "We told them if we minimize our errors and clean up our game, we'd be OK."

Wilton responded with 16 of the next 20 points and cruised to a 25-15, 25-15, 25-14 victory over its rival in a regional quarterfinal at Wilton High School.

Kelsey Drake had a match-high 15 kills to go along with 11 assists and 11 digs. Ella Caffery finished with 19 assists, 11 digs and six aces.

"We just had to get back into our rhythm," Drake said. "We're happy where we're at, but we know we can do more. We're not done yet."

Wilton (33-3) faces North Cedar, a four-set winner over Bellevue, in the regional semifinal Thursday at Wilton. The Beavers beat the Knights in two sets at the River Valley Conference tournament on Oct. 17.

The Beavers have just on senior in their rotation. The squad is mostly comprised of sophomores.

"What is unique about this team is they have a lot of poise on the court for as young as they are," Grunder said. "They feed off each other's energy, feed off each other's sense of calmness and feed off each other's sense of humor.

"We're exactly where we need to be. It has been our goal all year to be that relentless team that goes and goes."

Sophomore Peyton Souhrada triggered the spark. The southpaw served five straight points, including a couple of aces, in that first set to turn an 11-9 deficit into a four-point cushion.

After a sideout, Caffery followed with five straight service points. Suddenly, Wilton had a 21-12 advantage.

"We let them get some service runs," Durant coach Paul Beadel said. "We came out nice and relaxed, but after we made a couple mistakes it was like, 'Oh, no' and the nerves set in."

Wilton raced out to a 12-5 advantage in the second set. Durant never got closer than five points.

In the third set, the Beavers scored the first six points behind Caffery's serving.

Wilton finished with 35 kills to just 17 for Durant. The Beavers had success with their placement on tips and down the line.

"I think we outhit them but they out-placed us," Beadel said. "I thought we did some nice things in the match."

Ally Happ led the Wildcats (10-22) with a half-dozen kills. Senior Meg Koenig finished with a dozen assists. Rylie Rock had three blocks in the middle.

Wilton is two wins away from a return trip to the state tournament.

"Since the beginning, this group has wanted to go to state," Drake said. "We loved the experience (last year) and want to do it again. We want to show the freshmen coming up how much fun it really is."

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