By BRIAN JENNINGS
For the second time this season, the Blue Knights fell to top-ranked East Hartford, but Lou Gianacopolos still feels like the third time will be the charm. Southington fell to the Hornets in the CCC tournament championship last week, but Gianacopolos said that there were major differences from that regular season loss to the conference loss.
“Even though we had the same result, we’re a much tighter family than we were before,” the coach said. “You’re not going to see anyone hanging their heads or taking their shirts off and throwing them to the ground. We’re a brotherhood that has found ourselves, and we support one another.”
If the teams meet again, it will be in the state’s final four. That, says Gianacopolos, will be the final test.
“We had very low offensive points,” the coach said. “It wasn’t until game three until we realized that they’re human and made just as many errors as we did. This is an educational match. We’re going to see each other again in the semifinals, and we’ll look forward to that.”
Third-seeded Southington was shut out by top-seeded East Hartford, 3-0, in the championship match of the conference tournament at Glastonbury High School on Thursday, May 26.
Devin Prive (2 blocks) paced the Knights’ attack with five kills. Mike Aberizk (2 blocks) backed Prive with four kills and went 9-for-9 serving. Dietz went (4 kills, 3 blocks) went 13-for-13 behind the line with three aces. Brian Durocher (3 kills) went 13-for-13 with a pair of aces. Tim Cocozza (2 digs) went 9-for-9 with two aces.
Louis Gianacopolos Jr. (2 kills) contributed with three blocks and two digs. Jordan Meier contributed with 17 assists and four digs.
During the match, there were periods of miscommunication amongst the Knights, some foolery on the long balls, and establishing in front of the net was key to match.
“They’re organized with really good setting and attackers,” said Gianacopolos. “They’re very athletic and jumped higher. They ball-controlled better and hit better.”
Gianacopolos said that the match was a record low for the Knights, offensively, on the season.
Southington reached the finals with a 3-1 win over Conard in the semifinals on Wednesday. The Knights totaled 15 points off of stuffed blocks.
Dietz (2 blocks) led the offensive charge with 11 kills. Prive (8 blocks) followed with eight kills. Meier went 21-for-22 serving with an ace. Gianacopolos Jr. (10 digs, 3 kills) went 16-for-16 serving with an ace.
Durocher contributed with 18 digs and seven kills. Jordan Meier (3 kills) contributed with 31 assists and 14 digs. Mike Aberizk contributed with seven kills and five digs. Cocozza contributed with 12 digs.
The run begag with a 3-1 win over No. 6 Farmington in the CCC quarterfinals. Aberizk (12 digs) paced the Knights with 12 kills. Durocher (13 digs) trailed with nine kills.
Nate Simard went 15-for-15 serving with a pair of aces. Cocozza (16 digs) went 9-for-10 with two aces. Gianacopolos Jr. (16 digs, 6 kills) went 15-for-15 with an ace. Prive contributed with seven blocks and five kills. Dietz contributed with eight kills and four blocks. Meier contributed with 30 assists and 12 digs.
Now, the Knights will turn their attention to the Class L tournament where Southington has earned the fourth seed with a 15-3 regular season record. Southington will host No. 13 Fairfield Warde-Ludlowe Co-op (9-10) in the first round of the state tournament on Wednesday, June 1 at 6 p.m.
“We talk about details and what everyone’s details are on the court,” said Gianacopolos. “I think we were a step behind on our details getting to our positions. So our focal point when we go back into practice is going to be working the mechanics of the game and getting to where we should be.”
Regular season roundup
The Knights wrapped up the regular season by sweeping the Indians, 3-0, at Farmington on Monday.
Aberizk (8 digs) marshaled the Knights with 10 kills. Gianacopolos Jr. (5 digs, 2 blocks) and Durocher (12 digs) each finished with eight kills.
Durocher also went 11-for-15 serving with an ace. Dietz (5 kills, 3 blocks) went 5-for-7 with a pair of aces. Cocozza (13 digs) went 13-for-13 an ace. Meier contributed with 33 assists and seven digs. Prive contributed with five kills and two blocks.
Southington finished with a 7-1 divisional record, claiming the CCC South title.