By BRIAN JENNINGS
A pair of losses and a win may have set the Blue Knights boys volleyball team (10-5) back in seeding for the Class L state tournament, but having a few new faces on the court is the bigger concern right now.
The Knights lost their libero, Tom Del Buono, for the season due to injury over this past week, but Southington coach Lou Gianacopolos said that their goal has been to find leadership, and he’s starting to see new chemistry brewing out of his younger players.
The Knights visited the Maloney Spartans (7-9) on Monday, May 11 where they won their only match of the week with a 3-1 victory. The Knights won the first meeting between both teams in their first match of the season, 3-0.
Mark Horanzy attacked the net with 12 kills. Mike Aberizk and Dan Normandin added 10 kills kills apiece, and Adam Brush scored nine kills. Jordan Meier filled in as a starting setter and dished out a team-high 42 assists.
“He got in there and did really well,” said Gianacopolos. “He had 42 assists, which is great. He controlled the ball well through his timing.”
Horanzy also served up five assists on 26 attempts and dug six balls. Meier and Aberizk followed with five digs. Brush acted liked a brick wall with eight total blocks (five solo, three assisted).
“In the second match, we were one more senior leader down for the season. Our starting outside hitter is not with us. Having the younger guys fill those spots is huge,” said Blue Knight coach Lou Gianacopolos. “That loss of that senior has a lot to do with our next match. Against Maloney, we had our younger guys step in and we had a different setter. We had a new chemistry against Maloney and we thought it was working.”
The Knights returned to their home court a couple days later to host the Newington Indians (13-2) in a 3-0 loss that completed Newington’s season sweep. The Indians won the first meeting in late April, 3-1.
Horanzy scored five kills. Aberizk had four kills, and Normandin finished with three.
Brian Durocher dispensed nine assists, and Meier gave out seven. Adam Viviano and Horanzy both dug six balls and Brush and Aberizk each had two blocks (solo).
Nick Hinchcliffe led the Indians with 16 kills and three aces. Jordan Aprea led the team with 15 digs.
“Tonight, we’re playing with a new quarterback, defensive line, and wide receiver if you’re taking it to the football aspects,” said the coach. “We have a new junior outside replacing the other senior outside and we have a new setter. This is a whole new team. They just have to start all over again now.”
On Friday, the Knights hit the road for East Hartford where they tried to rebound from Wednesday’s loss against the Hornets (13-3), but would suffer their second straight loss, 3-1, making it the first time they lost back-to-back matches on the year.
Horanzy stormed the net with 15 kills, and Aberizk scored 10. Meier distributed 35 assists. Horanzy also anchored the defense with seven digs, and Viviano scored six digs. Keen led the Knights at the net with seven blocks.
The Knights look to get back to winning ways next week with a home court match against the Glastonbury Tomahawks (13-1). The Tomahawks won the first meeting between the two teams earlier this month, 3-0.