By John Goralski
When the Lady Knight volleyball team dropped the first set during games against Simsbury and Maloney, it ended up costing them a win, so now that Southington has survived their toughest stretch, coaches aren’t ready to rest on their laurels.
Instead, coaches have turned up the heat for pregame workouts. The Lady Knights have responded to the challenge.
“We’ve changed some things with our warmup, and I think the kids would agree that it’s worked,” said Lady Knight coach Rich Heitz. “They’ve come out strong over the last few games since the Maloney match. Getting into some competition with ourselves in our warmup has let us jump out a little earlier in games.”
There was no question with two victories last week. Southington took early leads and cruised to a pair of 3-0 sweeps.
On Monday, the Knights surged past New Britain in three straight matches. Southington held the Hurricanes to seven points in game one, five points in game two, and put the match out of reach with a 25-14 win in game three.
Maryssa Romano (7 digs) powered the offense with 12 kills. Caroline Barry and Michelle Stublarec scored six kills apiece, while Sylwia Lewkowicz and Danielle David added four kills apiece. Sam Lohneiss (19 assists) and Morgan McCarthy (9 assists) anchored the squad.
“We’re playing stronger defense,” said Heitz. “Our serve-receiving has been stronger. We’ve been just a little stronger in a few key areas, and I think that’s made a big difference.”
Two days later, the Knights held off a pesky Conard team at home, 25-14, 25-13, and 25-17.
Nicole Groll anchored the defense with 12 digs. Romano scored nine kills and nine digs. Barry finished with 6 kills and 5 digs, while Lohneiss and McCarthy combined for 22 assists.
With the win, the Knights improved to 9-2 (7-1 in the CCC West). Now, the Knights will look to build on their five game winning streak with rematches against NW Catholic, Farmington, and Hall.
“Obviously, Farmington is one of the best teams in the state, but I just want to go in there and compete a lot better than we did last time,” said Heitz. “I don’t think we played our best last time. Neither did they, but I think that’s our No. 1 goal this time. We want to play smart and compete. Win or lose, we’ll have a better idea of how we stand.”
By John Goralski