Volleyball wins spirited rivalry

Connor Brush attacks the net during a 3-1 win over Newington.

By BRIAN JENNINGS

STAFF WRITER

Argued calls on the court and a broken clipboard were just some of what Friday’s home match against Newington entailed for the Blue Knight volleyball team before their week was all said and done.

Following a debatable call late in the third set, Southington coach Lou Gianacopolos Sr. erupted after a point was switched in Newington’s favor. His clipboard snapped in half as he walked back to the Southington bench.

“I think that this was the most energetic that I’ve ever been,” said Southington coach Lou Gianacopolos Sr. “It’s not about me. It’s about the volleyball. We’re supposed to react to the volleyball coming over the net, not what they say or do.”

The Knights may not have gotten that call in the third set, but they did get the match. In a seesaw battle where the final score was not indicative of the match itself, due to multiple lead changes, the Knights rallied back to a 3-1 victory (23-25, 25-23, 25-23, 26-24) over the Indians after dropping the first set.

“Newington is our Southington football’s Darien,” the coach said. “They’re our competition and rival. It used to be Glastonbury, but Newington has such a good program.”

The Knights will look to continue their winning streak this week when they host Lewis Mills (2-3) on Monday, April 24 and Bulkeley (2-5) on Wednesday, April 26, setting out for Simsbury (3-3) on Friday, April 28. Southington is currently 7-1 overall.

Win vs. Newington

APRIL 21—With the Knights trailing, 24-23, the Indians took the first set following a miss-hit into the net. The score was tied at 23-23 in both the second and third sets, but the Knights returned to take the second set with a block and miss-hit wide of the sideline and the third set with a kill and serving ace.

“They took their best hitter that was just hammering the ball in the beginning of the match and moved him over to the right side to match up to our hitters,” said Gianacopolos Sr. “That took him away from his favorite spot to attack. I noticed that they weren’t as effective attacking as they were in the beginning of the match.”

The fourth set came down to the last two points yet again. The Knights went on a 5-0 run and jumped out to a 17-13 lead, but the Indians went on a pair of 5-1 runs to eventually knot the score at 24-24. However, the Knights clinched the match by securing the final two points with a kill and miss-hit into the net.

Walsh (1 block) paced the offense with 13 kills and anchored the defense with 14 digs. Gianacopolos Jr. (6 kills, 6 digs) dished out 28 assists and went 8-for-10 serving with a pair of aces.

Durocher contributed with 12 kills and 12 digs. Brush (9 digs, 6 kills), Dan Hackerman (3 kills, 3 digs), and Rocco Possidento (3 kills) finished with five blocks apiece. Southington finished the match with 16 blocks.

“We have to continue working on our offensive hitting percentage,” the coach said. “We give a lot of easy free balls to the middle of the court, where we should be putting them in the corners.”

Win vs. Enfield

APRIL 19—The Knights began the week by hosting Enfield at home on Wednesday, defeating the Eagles, 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 27-25, 25-20).

“In the second set, Enfield came out and dumped the ball, instead of recklessly hitting or miss-timing their shots,” said Gianacopolos Sr. “They would just grab it and throw it in a place, which was a higher hitting percentage for them. They should have stuck with it.”

Lou Gianacopolos Jr. anchored the defense with 15 digs and dished out 35 assists. Gianacopolos Jr. also went 18-for-21 serving with three aces.

Connor Brush (12 digs, 4 kills) went 20-for-23 behind the service line with three aces. Tim Walsh (9 digs) marshaled the offense with 17 kills. Brian Durocher contributed with 13 kills and 12 digs.

“We disciplined our block a little better, which is amazing,” the coach said. “We’re doing really well with it again. Our back defenders stayed outside and away from the block, anticipating the ball. We did that well tonight.”

 For this week’s box scores, click here: (http://southingtonobserver.com/2017/04/26/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-april-28-edition/). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.

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