By John Goralski
Lou Gianacopolos was a little worried about how his team would react after their big win over Staples, so he posed them a simple question.
What was the most difficult stretch ahead of them?
Gianacopolos expected someone to point at upcoming games against Glastonbury, Newington, or Farmington. He expected to hear someone talk about the postseason, but nobody jumped at the coach’s trick question.
“They said that it was the next two weeks because these are the teams that are going into it with nothing to lose, while we have everything to lose,” said the coach. “The boys came up with that, and it made me really happy. Sometimes it’s easy to sit back after a big win and coast through the rest of the season. They didn’t do that.”
The Knights improved to 4-0 with two more lopsided wins last week. First, they dispatched a rebuilding Fermi team, 25-8, 25-13, 25-17. Then, they swept pasts Maloney, 27-7, 25-14, 25-19. Both provided special tests for the Southington squad.
Win at Fermi
Nick Powell scored nine kills in just two games on the floor. Alex Zajda collected 23 assists. Kevin Casserino anchored the defense with eight digs.
On Monday, April 8, Gianacopolos shuffled 15 players into his varsity lineup, so nobody amassed too many statistics. But that wasn’t what he was looking for in the 3-0 win. It was a good chance to test his team’s depth.
“We went through all three lineups. Our starters played the first game. Our back-ups played the second game, and our younger sophomores played the third game,” said the coach. “I saw a progression in small errors, but the scores were pretty consistent.”
Maloney at home
On Wednesday, the Knights faced a different challenge. For two games, they were tasked with keeping the ball away from Maloney hitter Gilberto Ramos. In the third game, Gianacopolos turned on the green light.
“We knew that Maloney has one really good player, so it was pretty simple,” he said. “We served our spots, and we kept the ball away from him… Now we know that, if we hit our spots, we can keep them out of system even if they have one good player that can do a lot of damage to us.”
Powell finished with 10 kills, and Chris Sherwill added seven kills with three aces. Jeff Kolb collected five blocks, and Zajda had 27 assists. Nine players combined for 26 digs.