By BRIAN JENNINGS
Southington sandwiched a loss to Glastonbury with wins against Bulkeley and South Windsor. With two wins and a loss, the Blue Knights boys volleyball team (9-3) qualified for the Class L tournament.
Win over Bulkeley
The Knights swept the Bulkeley-HMTCA co-op team (3-8) in their only home match of the week on Monday, May 4 to qualify for state tournament, playing their entire bench in the process.
“It’s always nice to see the younger guys come in,” said Southington coach Lou Gianacopolos. “This is a good varsity match for the young guys to put under their belt. That was good for tonight.”
Mark Horanzy attacked the net with eight kills on 10 attempts and a hitting percentage of .700. Adam Viviano distributed 18 assists and dug three balls. Viviano (eight attempts), Dan Normandin (five attempts), and Mark Horanzy (seven attempts) each served up two aces. Tim Cocozza dug four balls and Tom Del Buono dug three.
“We played well knowing that when you come into the Bulkeley match, we’re not ever guaranteed a win, but we know it’s not going to be a Newington or Staples match where we emotionally get involved with and prepare the night before,” said Gianacopolos. “They all did well and all won the three sets. I enjoy the relationship we have with Bulkeley. They know the level of program they’re coming into and have different expectations when they play most teams. The Bulkeley guys were smiling and were learning. They were in envy watching us play and smiled when we made a great play. They never put their heads down.”
Swept by Tomahawks
Two days later, the Knights suffered their third loss of the season with a 3-0 sweep from the Glastonbury Tomahawks (10-1). Southington was edged in two close contests, 25-22 and 26-24, before losing the series in game three, 25-18.
Adam Brush attacked the net with 12 kills on 15 attempts and a hitting percentage of .733. Viviano, again, led the team in assists with 30. Del Buono served up three aces on 18 attempts and dug eight balls.
Brush, Nate Keen, and Brian Durocher had the team’s only blocks, each with one (all solo).
Beating the Bobcats
The South Windsor Bobcats (8-5) edged the Knights, 26-24, in game one, but Southington rebounded on the road with three straight wins to clinch the series. The Knights surged to a lopsided 25-13 win in game two and held off the Bobcats through extended play in games three and four with a pair of 32-30 wins to clinch the series.
The hard-fought victory clinched the season sweep. Southington won the first meeting, 3-1, back in April.
Horanzy attacked the net with 16 kills on 36 attempts. Jordan dished out a whopping 53 assists. Horanzy (18 attempts) and Dan Normandin (19 attempts) both served up two aces. Del Buono came up big in form with 16 digs. Brush stood tall in front of the net with three blocks (all solo).
The Knights currently sit in third place in the CCC South, trailing Newington (11-2) and Glastonbury by 1.5 games.
The Knights will be fighting for the CCC South Division and better seeding in the state tournament this week when they pay a visit to the East Hartford Hornets (10-3).