Southington girls volleyball were put to the test last week against Bristol Eastern, the only team in the CCC that was 10-0 entering the week. The Knights had several leads in the second and third set, but the Lancers stormed back in each set to win the match 3-0.
Southington (6-4) was looking for a third straight victory coming off a 3-1 win at NW Catholic Oct. 7. The Knights were shorthanded against Bristol Eastern as one of their key blockers, Veronika Gorski was out due to injury.
After Bristol Eastern dominated the first set, Southington looked like they were turning a corner in the second set, with a 7-5 lead at one point. After going up 10-9, Bristol Eastern scored the next ten points and never looked back as they took the second set 25-14.
“I would have liked to see us put up more of a fight in the first and second set but I was glad we continued to fight,” Southington coach Rich Heitz said. “They are obviously a really good team, but we showed we could compete with them in the third set.”
The Knights began the third set with a 9-4 lead, thanks in part to several errors from the Lancers. But Bristol Eastern was relentless and the teams were neck-and-neck. After Southington took a 20-19 lead, Bristol Eastern won six of the next seven points to complete the sweep and get the win.
“We missed five serves in the first set and that hurt us because then we had to fight to get back in it,” Heitz said. “In the third set, I thought we served much better and took them out of their system. But they are a quicker team than us.”
Southington held their own around the net, recording five blocks as a team. But Bristol Eastern proved to be overwhelming on the attack, recording 31 kills, compared to just 12 for the Knights.
Brooke Cooney recorded five of those kills for Southington, as well as a team-leading 10 digs. She also recorded one block and one ace on a perfect 7-7 serving.
Mackenzie Coppola had two aces on 13-13 serving to go with six digs and 12 assists. Kayli Garcia and Rachel Possidento each recorded two kills and two blocks.
Southington began the week with an impressive victory at NW Catholic. After taking the first set, 25-8, the two teams battled in the second set and the Lions would eventually win it, 26-24. Southington climbed back into it after trailing 20-16, but came up just short.
The Knights would go on to win the third and fourth set without much trouble for their sixth win of the season. Southington had 25 aces and 47 kills.
Gorski and Garcia each had 10 kills while Possidento and Cooney each had nine. Cooney also had six aces and 15 assists. Coppola had 25 assists to go with seven aces on 28 serve attempts.
Up next: Southington competed at the 2019 VolleyHall Classic on Monday at American International College in Springfield, Mass. They competed against Central Catholic and Agawam high school in Mass., as well as Hendrick Hudson high school in NY.
The Knights were scheduled to return to CCC play on Thursday at Glastonbury and they are set to host St. Joseph tonight at 6 p.m.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Spencer Dreher, email him at SDreher@SouthingtonObserver.com.