NEW BRITAIN – Southington boys volleyball swept New Britain, 3-0, Thursday to claim its ninth consecutive victory.
The Blue Knights won sets one and two, 25-11 and 25-16, before a final frame comeback attempt from the Hurricanes made it a 25-23 final set win for Southington.
The loss drops New Britain to 0-9 on the season.
“Even in the first and second game I thought we defended, he has some very good hitters, and I thought we defended them pretty well,” Hurricanes coach Michelle Abraham said. “As a team we had 23 good digs, in three games that’s decent for us.”
New Britain jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the third set and went back and forth with the Blue Knights the rest of the frame. The score was tied eight separate times throughout the set, until Southington snatched the last two points on a Hurricanes netted ball and an out-of-bounds return.
“This is the point of the season where we’ve got to prepare for the state tournament,” Blue Knights coach Lou Gianacopolos said. “The beginning of the season I’m always like ‘okay, who’s going to be where.’ We’re kind of settled in a little bit and right about now, we try to figure out what we do to improve.”
Sets seemed to be working all match long for the Blue Knights as they placed a plethora of balls in the perfect spot for Connor McInnis, in particular, to smash it over the net. McInnis led Southington with 11 kills.
“He does well,” Gianacopolos said. “He plays a lot of beach volleyball. That’s the thing we’ve been passing on to our players now. The more volleyball you can get them to play, the better off they are.”
Matthew Morgan was next with eight kills, followed by Omar Dugee with six, Anthony Picone and Cameron Stanton each picked up four, Devin Larrabee earned three and Ben Roper recorded one kill for the Blue Knights.
“We talk about big rocks and little rocks,” Gianacopolos said. “The big rocks are we need our offense to get better because we’re not offensive. Little rocks are, I need my outside to work a little bit better at his passing, all that stuff. The rocks that we chose coming into today, a different style of offense. We tried a few different things. I was pleased because you never know what it’s going to be like and I was pleased with how we ran our offense today.”
On the defensive side, Anthony Cannatelli and Morgan each earned 12 digs, accounting for 24 of Southington’s 43 total during the match. Larrabee also added 12 assists to pace the Blue Knights.
Thursday’s loss for the Hurricanes comes a day after a 3-2 loss to Wethersfield. New Britain hadn’t won a set before its loss to the Eagles, but despite the defeat, the Hurricanes showed some fight in the third set, taking a one-loss team to the wire.
“They’ve made tremendous progress and they’re doing a lot of good things and they’re learning all night long,” Abraham said. “Tonight it looked like they had fun. We came off a tough one last night, losing to Wethersfield in five, but they’re responding and it’s going to happen.”
“It’s always nice to come here because you can see the new kids with the raw talent and I can’t wait to see them get better,” Gianacopolos said.
New Britain will host Bulkeley-SMSA on Friday at 3:45p.m., while Southington (9-1) will face Farmington on the road Friday at 6 p.m.
Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.