By KEVIN ROBERTS
Southington girls volleyball remained undefeated with wins over Platt, NW Catholic and EO Smith, and its long-time coach was recognized for hitting a milestone earlier in the season.
The Lady Knights improved to 11-0 with three shutouts but still fell from the top spot in the coaches poll.
Here’s what happened in each match:
Knights sweep Panthers
OCT. 1—Southington swept Platt in Meriden by scores of 25-20, 25-7 and 25-11.
The Lady Knights served up 15 aces in the match, led by five from Isabell Myrick. Era Pasha and Lynsey Danko had four aces each.
“We served really well against Platt. We only missed about five serves on the night,” coach Rich Heitz said. “We had 15 aces, five missed serves, and we served like 93 percent.”
Southington did have to battle its way through the first set, but they came away with the win and rolled after.
“The first game was tight until about 15-15, and then we pulled away at the end,” Heitz said. “Platt came out with great energy, both teams played hard, and fortunately we were able to pull away at the end.”
Katie Gundersen and Haley Larrabee each had five kills and Veronika Gorski led at the net with two blocks. Danko had 15 digs, Jenna Martin added 11 digs, and Olivia Carpenter dished out 20 assists.
Knights “Dig Pink”
OCT. 3—Southington hosted its “Dig Pink” night, and NW Catholic proved to be a gracious guest as the Lady Knights rolled to a sweep by scores of 25-14, 25-12 and 25-10.
“I thought our serve receive passing was good,” Heitz said. “Katie did a nice job, Haley played well tonight. Katie played for Brooke [Cooney] against Platt on Monday.”
Cooney returned to the lineup, but was eased back in.
“We don’t want to push her too much with the ankle,” Heitz said. “We obviously want it to heal, but we also wanted everybody to experience the Dig Pink event.”
Heitz was able to play a whole slew of players against the Lions.
“I thought Era Pasha did a nice job tonight, especially serving,” Heitz said. “Keishla Rosario had a couple nice swings, and Bella Myrick played some nice defense. It was nice to see.”
Juniors Mackenzie Coppola and Katie D’Agostino also got a chance to play late in the match.
“Mackenzie Coppola got in for a set and Katie D’Agostino had some nice swings,” Heitz said.
Gundersen and Larrabee led Southington with six kills. Pasha had a great night behind the service line with seven aces. Martin had five aces while Larrabee added three. Carpenter passed out 29 assists for the Lady Knights.
After the second set, athletic director Greg Ferry grabbed the mic and lauded Heitz for his 300th career victory, which came at Farmington earlier this season. Heitz was presented with a plaque commemorating the milestone.
Sweep other Panthers
OCT. 5—Southington took down a second opponent with the nickname Panthers in the span of five days, and this time it was EO Smith who fell by a 3-0 score at Southington High School.
The set scores were 25-16, 25-18 and 25-19.
The Lady Knights tallied 13 aces in the match, led by six from Cooney and four from Danko. Larrabee had nine kills, Cooney added six kills and Rosario chipped in four kills off of the bench. Kayla Garcia had three of Southington’s four blocks while coming off of the bench. Danko had 14 digs while Larrabee tallied 10 digs. Carpenter passed out 23 assists and contributed three kills.
Up next: It may not count toward CIAC standings, but Southington faced a strong challenge on Monday in Springfield, Mass., trying to defend last year’s title at the annual VolleyHall Classic on the campus of American International College. The Lady Knights played Simsbury on Thursday at home. Southington goes to Avon on Friday for a 6 p.m. match.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com