MILFORD -- The No. 12-seeded Southington girls volleyball team proved to be anything but a pushover for top-seeded and unbeaten Darien in their Class LL state tournament semifinal clash at Foran High School Wednesday night.

In the end, the Blue Wave took the final three sets by the narrowest of margins to claim a 3-1 (18-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-23) victory, securing its spot in Saturday's state championship tilt against No. 2 Cheshire at East Haven High School at 7 p.m.

"We had been practicing for this game our whole season, and it's really exciting that we were able to pull through," Darien's Taylor Cockerhill said. "It was definitely, in my opinion, the toughest match. Southington is a great team, they put up an awesome fight and it was great to play them."

Darien built a quick 4-1 lead in the early goings of Game 1, but outstanding play by Corinne Horanzy, who recorded a game-high 23 kills, allowed Southington to hang around and eventually take its first lead at 15-14. Southington led for the rest of the opening set and eventually closed it out at 25-18.

"I think we played with a lot of confidence," Southington coach Lou Gianacopolos said. "We did well for a set and a half and then they kind of knocked us off of our heels and we struggled a bit."

In Game 2, Darien did not take its first lead until the score was 19-18 and it trailed by as big of a margin as 17-13. Kelly Kosnik pulled her team even with a cross-court spike to even the match at 1-1.

"Callan Clasby came out and served amazingly and got us back in the game," Darien's Lauren Pryor said. "Our serving is really what helped us in this game."

In Game 3, Darien received strong net play from Taylor Cockerhill and exceptional all-around play by Riley Sousa, who notched 14 kills on the night. Kosnik again closed out the match at 25-23 with another of her team-high 13 kills.

With its season on the line, Southington built a quick 4-0 lead before Darien won the next five points to claim the lead. Southington pulled even five times after that but could never re-take the lead. With the score knotted at 23-23, Darien won the next two points to claim its third straight set by a score of 25-23.

"We knew it was going to be a great match no matter what. It was fun to play," Pryor said. "The past two years we've come up short (of winning states), so we're pumped for it and we couldn't be more excited."

Darien 3, Southington 1

SOUTHINGTON 25 23 23 23--1

DARIEN 18 25 25 25--3

Records: Darien 21-0; Southington 17-5.

Highlights: D--Riley Sousa had 13 kills, 9 service points and 2 aces. Kelly Kosnik had 14 kills, 8 service points, 4 aces and 21 digs. Brittany Osborn had 6 blocks, 3 kills and 10 digs. Kathleen Burke had 30 assists. S--Corinne Horanzy had 23 kills. Sara Malicka had 24 digs. Danielle Kaminsky had 42 assists. Caroline Barry had 10 kills.