By BRIAN JENNINGS
Don’t call it a comeback because Southington coach Lou Gianacopolos has been here for years, and his Blue Knights (5-1) have been in these types of situations before.
Southington won its only match of the week, 3-2, at home on Friday, April 22 against a rebuilding Farmington (2-5) team, but this wasn’t your typical rebuilding team. This team took the Knights the full distance, making them work for their victory.
Southington won the first game, 26-24, but dropped the next two games, 25-21, 25-21. However, the Knights battled and rallied back to take the fourth set, 25-23, sending the contest into a deciding fifth set.
Southington prevailed in the fifth set by two points, 15-13, but as Southington coach Lou Gianacopolos explains, it was by no means easy from a mental aspect.
“That is a very good rebuilding team,” the coach said. “We have some players that are looking at the floor and do not believe in themselves. They’re focusing on their inner voice and what their inner voice is saying. And they’re not able to control that.”
Gianacopolos said that the team will get into sports psychology drills later in the season, which will serve as confidence builders.
“Our inner voice was just controlling ourselves,” the coach said. “When your inner voice is saying great things to you, you can accomplish anything. It really doesn’t matter and you’re going to do a great job. But when your inner voice has some self doubt, then you’re going to have self doubt. If you believe that you’re not going to do well, your performance is going to show. And I think that was the case.”
On top of confidence swaying, matters worsened for the Indians after their starting outside hitter was forced to miss most of the fourth and fifth games.
“Our confidence came back and Farmington saw it,” said Gianacopolos. “They started to fall a little bit. I think that momentum really helped us there when their outside hitter cramped up and was taken out of the game.”
Jack Dietz anchored the Knights offensively with 14 kills on 32 attacks. Dietz also led the Knights in front of net with three blocks (2 assisted). Mike Aberizk was right behind Dietz with 13 kills on 31 attacks.
Louis Gianacopolos (9 kills) Jr. went 9-for-13 serving with three aces. Jordan Meier (12 digs) went 18-for-20 behind the line with two aces and dished out 43 assists. Brian Durocher (14 digs, 7 kills) went 22-for-24 and received 28 serves.
Tim Cocozza contributed with 14 digs and 39 serves received. Devin Prive contributed with eight kills and two blocks.
The Knights will look to build off of their win this week when they set out for Trumbull (6-3) on Monday, April 25, Bulkeley/HMTCA (0-4) on Wednesday, April 27, and Simsbury (3-4) on Friday, April 29.
Southington is currently fourth in the CIAC’s Class L rankings. Darien (10-0) is atop the list.
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