With the fall season more than halfway over, seniors enter the final stretch of their high school athletic careers in their respective fall sports and finishing strong is important regardless of how the season has unraveled.
Southington’s Ryan Montalvo and Plainville’s Caitlin Bradley both played pivotal roles in the success of their teams this past week.
Montalvo did so in a role he has yet to play this year for the Blue Knights football team while Bradley was a big reason that the Blue Devils girls volleyball team almost escaped with their first win of the season.
The second-ranked Blue Knights overcame a shaky start against New Britain Friday night in their first game following a bye week and left with a 42-20 win to remain unbeaten at 6-0, thanks in part to the play of Montalvo.
Already know for his tenacity on defense, the senior played on offense for the first time this season due to a previous arm injury and did not disappoint. Montalvo led the team in rushing, carrying the ball 15 times for 76 yards and three touchdowns, showcasing both power and speed.
One of his touchdowns went 48 yards, while he scored the others from five and a yard out. Montalvo also caught two passes for 11 yards.
“It was the best feeling in the world,” Montalvo said. “To be able to come back out and dominate felt great. The O-line was great, the holes was huge. That was a dominate game for them and they played really well. I’m excited for them to see what they can do for the rest of the season.”
With the passing game struggling against the Hurricanes, Montalvo was able to bring a necessary and extra dimension to the unit. And with the senior looking like he will have a bigger role within the offense, it could make a dangerous unit even more so.
“He brings that explosive pop, that ability to break the big one once we get it blocked up with him accelerating down the field,” Southington head coach Mike Drury said. “He did a great job [Friday].”
The Blue Knights have four games remaining in the regular season until the playoffs start and while the personal accolades are nice, for Montalvo, what makes this team successful is the disregard for those accolades.
“I wanna see my teammates score and I’ll sacrifice my body and anyone will sacrifice their body for the person next to them,” Montalvo said. “That’s was creates this crazy chemistry and this love and helps keeps us pushing to get pass these other teams.”
For the Plainville girls volleyball team, the five set loss to Bristol Central at home on senior night almost resulted in the first win of the season for the Blue Devils on Thursday.
Bradley finished the match with eight aces but it was her performance in the third set that stood out and was a game changer for the Blue Devils in the match.
With Plainville down 16-7 in the third set and all of the momentum on the Rams side after they won the second, Bradley had one of her best sets of the season, winning 13 service points in a row to help get Plainville back in the lead.
That sequence of points was a team confidence boost that showed on the court for the rest of the match.
“She helped us tremendously,” Plainville middle hitter Isabel Lozefski said. “Especially in the second set that we won we were down nine points and she helped us not give up.”
For a team that has struggled this season, Bradley’s performance provided a much-needed boost.
“I could see the emotions start to shift to our side and they started to back off a little bit and we were able to go on the offensive side rather than the defensive side,” Blue Devils coach Bob Moffo said. “It carried over into the rest of the match.”
On a night dedicated to the seniors, Bradley brought her best game for her fellow classmates and she believes the best is yet to come for Plainville.
“We’re very close and we’ve developed all together throughout the four years,” Bradley said. “I’ve seen very high points of this team and I know they have so much that they can do next year and I’m excited to come back to see what they do next year.”