First things first: Volleyball scores undefeated regular season

Sam Miranda is in the right spot on defense, returning a volley during the May 14 match.

By KEVIN ROBERTS

STAFF WRITER

In 2008, the Southington boys volleyball team went 18-0 in the regular season. That was the last time a Blue Knight boys volleyball team ran the table in the regular season. The players on the current Southington team were in grade school.

The current crop of Knights joined the 2006 (18-0) and 2008 teams in the history books with three wins last week. Southington defeated Hall 3-0, outlasted Newington 3-2, and rolled past Rockville 3-0 to finish the regular season 19-0. The Knights are the top seed in this week’s CCC Tournament, along with the upcoming Class L state tournament.

The undefeated regular season is a great accomplishment, but not one coach Lou Gianacopolos has high atop his list. Gianacopolos said after Newington that he couldn’t care less if the Knights were undefeated. He did acknowledge that this Southington team is special.

“I’ve had special teams before, but this one here is a little bit more connected,” Gianacopolos said. “We’re senior strong, so they’re a class, a family, where they know I’m not going out there just to serve this ball for me to get me a stat.”

This Southington team hopes to have a better postseason fate than the 2006 and 2008 squads. The 2006 team lost in the Class L state semifinal round while the 2008 squad was defeated in the Class L state final. There was no CCC Tournament back then.

Here’s what happened in each match this past week:

Honed in on Hall

MAY 13—The Knights made quick work of the Warriors in West Hartford. The set scores were 25-14, 25-9, 25-15.

Tim Walsh led Southington with eight kills, three aces (12-15 serving), five digs, a solo block and two block assists. Zack Morgan had 21 assists, three aces (14-16), two kills and five digs. Brandon Wolff tallied six kills and three digs; Adam Hunter had five kills and three digs; and Rocco Possidento added three kills, one solo block and two block assists.

Justin Miranda (16-16) and John Idian (12-13) each had two aces while Sam Miranda posted a team-high 10 digs.

Surviving Newington, Part Two

MAY 14—Another match, another five-set battle against the Indians for the Knights, this time at home. The set scores were 30-28, 24-26, 28-26, 17-25, 15-10.

“Blocking, and being willing to play defense,” Walsh said when asked what it took to pull out the win. “Everyone just came together in the fifth set to play defense, and it just worked. It took until the fifth set to do it, and I’m happy that we did it, but I’m not happy that it took until the fifth set.”

Chief among the defensive stalwarts was Brett Hunter, who came up with a massive solo block on six-foot-five Mason Romano (match-high 27 kills).

“They were absolutely killing the ball. There was a time in the fourth set, we just couldn’t stop them,” Brett Hunter said. “Us getting one or two blocks, or getting a big dig, that just changed the whole dynamic.”

Brett Hunter had two solo blocks and three block assists, plus eight kills. Brett Hunter had help from Possidento, who had three block assists and 10 kills.

“We just did not want to lose,” Possidento said. “Coach asked us who wants to fight more to win. We came out swinging, I think we had an 8-2 lead to start off. We just finished through and got the dub.”

Walsh tallied 22 kills and 13 digs, and he was 24-for-27 serving. Morgan had 64 assists to just one ball-handling error. He had 13 kills, went 20-for-20 serving, and tallied two block assists. Adam Hunter had 21 kills and a match-high 23 digs to along with his 12-for-13 serving.

Brandon Wolff added 10 kills, four digs and three block assists. Idian was 19-for-21 serving with one ace and 19 digs. Sam Miranda went 16-for-16 serving while Justin Miranda was 16-for-17 serving with one ace.

Rolling over Rockville

MAY 15—The Knights made quick work of the Rams in Rockville. Set scores were 25-21, 25-12, 25-12.

Morgan had 12 assists and two aces (15-15 serving). Walsh had five kills and six aces (11-12) while Possidento added a team-high six kills, plus a solo block and three block assists.

Brett Hunter had a team-high six digs; Wolff had four kills and two block assists; Javon Hicks tallied three kills; and Sam Miranda added six assists. Connor McInnis and Cole Marek picked up two kills apiece.

Up next: Southington was scheduled to play in the CCC Tournament this week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com.

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