Note: The Knights are currently battling the top CCC teams in the conference tournament for game times and opponents, visit www.centralconnecticutconference.org/index.php/volleyball-b-mainmenu-473
By BRIAN JENNINGS
What’s better than to qualify for the state tournament? Clinching a division title in the final week of the season ranks right up there. The Blue Knight volleyball team scored a hard-fought, five-set victory over Newington, 3-2, to clinch the CCC South title.
With a front row seat in the Class L tournament and a divisional title to put up on the banner in the gym, a win in their last match of the regular season would clinch the top seed in the CCC tournament over state powerhouse East Hartford. All that’s holding the Knights back are the Knights, according to Southington coach Lou Gianacopolos Sr.
“I believe in every individual on this team when we go out and play, knowing that they have that belief,” the coach said. “The potential is getting each player to play at their highest level. At this point of the season, I am using everyone’s abilities to the potential that they’re at. There’s no changing anyone right now, but putting the right people in the right place is important.”
The Knights will look to secure the top seed in the conference tournament this week when they host Glastonbury (8-9) in their regular season finale on Monday, May 22. Southington is currently 16-2 overall.
Win at Maloney
MAY 15—The Knights began the week by recording their 10th shutout of the season with a 3-0 sweep (25-12, 25-19, 25-8) at Maloney on Monday.
Brian Durocher (11 digs) paced the offense with eight kills on 14 attacks. Dan Hunter (2 digs) went 9-for-9 serving with three aces. Andrew Chavez (5 digs) went 18-for-18 behind the service line with a pair of aces.
Lou Gianacopolos Jr. anchored the defense with 15 digs, and Connor Brush (6 kills, 3 assists) controlled the net with three blocks. Gianacopolos Jr. also dished out 21 assists.
Win at Newington
MAY 17—A couple days later, the Knights rounded out the week by earning their fourth-straight win. Southington rebounded from a 25-20 loss in the first set to win the next two, 25-18, 25-20. The Indians forced a fifth set with a 25-20 win to knot the score, but Southington held on for a 15-11 win in the deciding set.
With the scored knotted at 11-11 in the deciding fifth set, Gianacopolos Jr. (11 digs, 9 kills) was able to serve the next four points for the win.
“Afterwards, the coach said that he had no more timeouts left,” said Gianacopolos Sr. “He wanted to call a timeout because Louie was serving, and they were hitting out of system. The ball was not near the when they were attacking. Because of that, they couldn’t close out.”
Gianacopolos Jr. finished with 36 assists.
The Knights prevailed over the Indians, 3-1, at home earlier in the season, but the Indians were without one of their top outside hitters, Zachary Harmon. He was back this for this match, but it didn’t matter, as the Knights kept him in check.
“When he was in a prime hitting spot, I told my blockers to serve him, so that he knows where he’s going to get the set and we know where we need the block,” the coach said. “So we kept serving and setting him, and we blocked him.”
The Knights finished with 17 blocks.
Tim Walsh (14 digs) marshaled the offense with 13 kills on 45 attacks. Walsh also went 15-for-16 serving with a pair of aces.
Durocher (11 kills, 2 assists) went 18-for-19 behind the service line with two aces and anchored the defense with 18 digs. Dan Hackerman (4 kills) controlled the net with eight blocks.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2017/05/23/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-may-26-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.