Second time around; Volleyball loses to Farmington in rematch

By John Goralski
Sports Writer
The best thing about the Farmington loss is that Southington won’t see them in the postseason. On Wednesday, Oct. 8, the Indians dismantles the Knights again, with a three-game sweep for the second time this season.
Of course, that’s nothing new. Farmington hasn’t lost a single game this season, but for the Lady Knights, it’s a good measure for progress.
“We could see them in the CCC tournament. We could see them next week at the Hall of Fame Classic. We will just try to use this as a measuring stick, and try to get a little bit closer,” said Lady Knight coach Rich Heitz. “Maybe we can get one to go in our favor, but they are a very, very good team. They beat everybody, 3-0, and that includes us, Bristol Eastern, and a lot of other great teams.”
On the other hand, the Knights continue to roll through everybody else. On Monday, Southington surged past NW Catholic, 3-0, to complete the season sweep, winning handily, 25-9, 25-12, and 25-23.
Caroline Barry paced the offense with 11 kills. Maryssa Romano collected nine kills and seven digs. Sylwia Lewkowicz (7 kills), Michelle Stublarec (4 kills), and Nicole Groll (11 digs) contributed.
Morgan McCarthy and Sam Lohneiss combined for 30 assists.
“The kids took care of business,” said Heitz. “Maybe we sat back a little on our heels in game three. It might have been a little closer than we would have liked, but you have to try some new things when you’re in that position. The good thing is that we were able to pull out the win.”
On Friday, the team bounced back from the Farmington loss with an easy 3-0 win over Hall. In the first meeting, Southington needed four games to win. This time, they only needed three.
Stublarec paced the offense with nine kills. Romano finished with six kills and 12 digs. Emily Mankus (5 kills, 5 aces), Groll (15 digs, 3 aces), McCarthy (19 assists), and Lohneiss (18 assists) contributed, and the Knights won, 25-16, 25-16, and 25-22.
“Hall got there a little late, so we had a tough time starting. But when it came time to play, we were ready,” said Heitz. “It’s good that we have some other kids that have been stepping it up lately, like Emily Mankus and Michelle Stublarec. Michelle played outside hitter for the third game. She had some nice kills, and Hall’s a good team.”
Even the loss to Farmington showed some promise. Romano battled for nine kills and 1`8 digs. Mankus finished with six kills, and Kelsea Allen scored five. Southington fell behind 11-1 in the first game on their way to a 25-11 loss, but stayed competitive in the last two games, 25-20 and 25-21.
“I think we spotted them way too many points, but we fought over the next two sets. We just gave up a little too much in the end,” said Heitz. “After that first game, I think we finally went out and played volleyball. I think they stopped worrying about who was on the other side of the net, and just played.”
Now, the Knights will look to build momentum toward the postseason against an all-star field at the Hall of Fame Classic in Springfield, Mass., followed by a rematch with Simsbury that could decide the final spot in the CCC tournament and an out-of-conference game against Glastonbury, the top team in the CCC North.
“I think we’re competing better,” said Heitz. “We had some problems getting out of the gates, but other than that Farmington game, I think we’ve done a great job of getting out quicker. I’m very happy with our serving, but our serve-receive passing has got to get better if we’re going to have success in the postseason. They know that, and we’re working on it.”

By John Goralski Lady Knight libero Nicole Groll reaches for a dig during a 3-0 win over NW Catholic on Monday, Oct. 6.

By John Goralski
Lady Knight libero Nicole Groll reaches for a dig during a 3-0 win over NW Catholic on Monday, Oct. 6.

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