STRATFORD - The Southington girls volleyball team finished out its season Wednesday evening in the semifinal round of the Class LL tournament - just not the way it wanted to
The Blue Knights fell to the 6th-seeded Greenwich team 3-1, with set scores of 14-25, 25-19, 25-21 and 25-14 in what they hoped would end up being their first trip to the final since 2011.
“The first set I thought we did really well,” Southington’s Jenna Martin said. “We had good serving, pretty good service, and we had a lot of momentum, we were energized. Then the second sets, the other team played really well and I think we tried our best, it just didn't work out [Wednesday].”
Martin had 12 digs, two aces, nine service points against the Cardinals. But after a strong start, it turned into a different match for the Blue Knights.
“I think we weren’t swinging as aggressively as we normally do,” Martin said. “We also had trouble on our blocks, which is understandable because Greenwich has really good hitters and defense, but I think our serving was a lot more consistent than it’s normally been. Our service was very good and I think our communication was pretty good.”
No one stood out Wednesday evening in the eyes of Southington head coach Richard Heitz.
“It was like there were two different teams,” Heitz said. “Our blocking was not very good [Wednesday]. It was late, it was angled outside, we weren’t exercising the basic fundamentals.”
“I always tell my kids to try to grab the momentum and carry it over,” he added. “It was up to us to stop that and we didn’t.”
It was once the Blue Knights started playing safe they lost their momentum.
“When it started to get tight, people started to panic a little bit and that happens with a good, high pressure game,” libero Nolyn Allen said. “Our serves, our communication, who had what, we just kind of broke down.”
Although Southington did not reach its desired goal, there is still plenty to be proud upon when the players reflect on their season and another deep postseason run.
“I think we had a really good season,” Allen said. “I just feel really honored to play with such a good team. I’ve been playing with them since elementary school, ever since we could. It was just awesome, I’m just so glad to have such a great season, with a great coach and a great team.”
In Wednesday's match, Allen recorded a total of 18 digs, capping off with 455 for the season. Teammate and captain, Steph Zera, also had an impressive match with 40 assists and 979 on the season.
“This was a really good season, and I’m going to miss the seniors so much,” Martin said. “I’m so happy we made it this far because we are a really good team and it was really fun. I’m just happy to be apart of the team.”
Southington finished its season overall 18-3.
“[Next season] is going to be a whole new crew,” Heitz said. “I have eight seniors, and they’ve been great kids. I’ve had the bulk of them for the past two years, and some for three so there’s a lot of holes to fill but we have some good young kids coming up.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860)801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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