By BRIAN JENNINGS
Southington won three of the four sets by eight points, and their only loss came with a three point battle in the second set. On Friday, May 18, the Blue Knight volleyball team was looking to measure themselves against one of the state’s only unbeaten team.
What they came away with was an easy, 3-1 win.
Coach Lou Gianacopolos brushed off the upset. After all, the Knights could face the Hornets again in the conference tournament and the state tournament. But he said if his team continues to pass, set, and hit well, good things are going to happen.
“That’s really what it’s all about,” said Gianacopolos. “If you execute and are well-balanced like we were against East Hartford, then we can compete with anyone. The turning point was at the South Windsor match, and with everyone doing their job and feeling the way that we’re feeling now, I believe it again.”
Although the Knights took down an undefeated team, Gianacopolos said that he still believes their only loss to on the season was to a much better Staples team than any other team they’ve played this year. Nonetheless, he said that his team is very calm and settled as they approach their regular season finale. They’re collected, not overacting or over-thinking.
“They’re smooth and suave,” said Gianacopolos. “It feels like we’re playing smooth, but we’re still playing aggressive.”
The Knights (15-1) will close out the regular season at Newington (17-2) on Monday, May 21. If the Knights win, they will capture the top seed in the upcoming conference tournament.
Win at Farmington
MAY 14—A balanced attack helped the Knights begin the week on Monday with a 3-0 sweep (25-20, 25-6, 25-17) at Farmington. The Knights swept the Indians in their first meeting earlier in the season as well.
Tim Walsh paced the offense with 13 kills and went 8-for-10 serving with two aces. Adam Hunter went 8-for-10 with a pair of aces behind the service line as well and helped anchor the defense with three blocks. JJ Clark was right there with Hunter with three blocks of his own.
Justin Miranda went 6-for-6 serving with two aces. Niko anchored the other half of the defense with 15 digs, and Zack Morgan distributed 16 assists.
Win vs. Hall
MAY 16—A balanced contribution by Will Pfanzelt and the stellar serving and defense of Sophroniou lifted the Knights to their 11th shutout of the season to remain undefeated in the division with a 3-0 sweep (25-23, 25-16, 25-21) of Hall at home. The Knights defeated the Warriors, 3-1, in their first meeting earlier in the season.
Pfanzelt covered most of the court with 17 assists, nine digs, six kills, and two blocks. He also went 8-for-9 serving with an ace. Sophroniou went 14-for-18 behind the service line with four aces and helped anchor the defense with 20 digs.
Walsh paced the offense with 15 kills, Adam Hunter went 9-for-10 serving with a pair of aces. Tyler Peruta anchored the other half of the defense with three blocks.
Win vs. East Hartford
MAY 18—Against one of the toughest teams on their regular season schedule, a balanced contribution from different players handed the Hornets their first loss of the season. Southington capped off the week on Friday by prevailing with a 3-1 victory (25-17, 22-25, 25-17, 25-17) over East Hartford at home.
The Knights were big up front with a total of nine blocks at the net. Rocco Possidento helped anchor the defense with six blocks. Pfanzelt, Hunter, Clark, and Walsh backed Possidento with two blocks apiece.
“I saw these guys observe what’s working, and they analyzed the other team,” said Gianacopolos. “We needed to attack through the middle against East Hartford because that was their vulnerable spot, and that’s what we did.”
Pfanzelt also paced the offense with 13 kills, and Walsh also went 13-for-16 behind the service line with three aces. Morgan went 26-for-26 serving with a pair of aces and distributed a season high of 29 assists, and Miranda went 16-for-17 serving with two aces. Sophroniou anchored the other half of the defense with 17 digs.
“Being big at the net was one of the reasons why Zack Morgan had 29 assists,” said Gianacopolos. “Just knowing that Zack set only half of the game and got 29 assists tells you that this kid could have gotten 60 assists if he had worked it all around.”
For more in depth coverage, see our weekly print edition. To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.