Over the past week, numerous teams wrapped up their regular seasons and have turned their attention to the postseason - either league tournaments or getting ready for the state ones. Other sports, such as football, are still in the middle of trying to secure a playoff spot.
Of course, every team has a player they can depend on during these crucial points in the year. Southington’s Lynsey Danko and Plainville’s Frank Griffin were just that this past week with both playing pivotal roles in helping their respective teams come out with wins.
Danko has been instrumental to Southington volleyball team’s success this season. The Blue Knights are currently the No. 2 ranked team in the state and are the top seed in the Class LL rankings with an 18-0 record.
Over the last week, Southington beat three teams, Conard (3-1), NFA (3-0) and Northwest Catholic (3-0) to cap off its regular season.
The senior libero started the week on a high note, notching 34 digs and five aces against the Chieftains on Monday.
“Lynsey played phenomenal [Monday] night,” Southington head coach Rich Hietz said. “She served 19-for-20 so her serving is getting better and better. She’s just a fun player to watch, she really is.”
The following night, Tuesday, was senior night and the Blue Knights knew they wanted nothing but another win. Southington was also able to work through a little lineup adjustment and trouble in the beginning.
“We worked it out even after we dug ourselves a little hole in the beginning,” Danko said. “Then, after that, our confidence was really high and we took it through all three sets.”
Danko recorded three aces, eight digs and one kill Tuesday evening, not to mention she made an impressive save, as the ball ricocheted off the ceiling.
“That play she made off of the ceiling, that itself gives your team a lot of momentum and takes a lot of momentum away from the other team,” Hietz said.
This season alone, Danko has made eight kills, 47 aces and 304 digs.
“It’s been a really exciting season, especially since it’s my senior year,” Danko said. “We’ve had some ups and downs, but we always manage to come out on top and it’s just an amazing feeling.”
This week Southington entered the CCC Tournament, which began on Monday. The Blue Knights will begin the state tournament Monday, Nov. 5th.
The Plainville football team is currently 4-3 on the season with its most recent 49-15 win over East Catholic on Friday. During the game, Griffin, the team’s senior quarterback, threw for 99 yards and a touchdown, followed by another 323 yards on the ground and five touchdowns, breaking the Plainville school record of most rushed yards in a single game.
“Friday night was the best performance of my life so far,” Griffin said. “I’ve never had more fun on a football field than I did Friday night. I had an unbelievable night, but I wouldn’t have done it without the receivers and offensive line. All the credit goes to them.”
Griffin said breaking the single game rushing record was a very memorable moment for him, but it was never in his plans to do so.
“The best part of it was hearing how proud my parents were of me,” Griffin said. “There isn’t much that can beat that. I need 127 yards to break the all-time passing record at PHS, so hopefully I can get that done as well.”
Through five games this season he’s rushed 503 yards with 11 touchdowns and in the air Griffin has connected on 56 of his 90 attempts for 726 yards and three more scores.
“Frank is a hard worker and is very dedicated to his craft,” Plainville head coach Tim Shea said. “He is someone that the program can always rely on. I hold the starting quarterback, especially, to a very high standard and he has always answered to every challenge that I've put in front of him. It has been a pleasure to see him grow in the program and we are excited to see how our last three games go.”
Of course, for all the personal records Griffin has or will set, the team’s success is always what will be the most important aspect of the game to him.
“My goal for the rest of the season is to lead my team to a 7-3 season,” Griffin said. “Plainville hasn’t seen a record like that in a long time and this team has worked too hard for anything less. This year has been great, but I’m just taking it a game at a time, and cherishing every single moment of it. This team has been playing together our entire lives and you can tell by the chemistry on Friday nights. It started rough with me missing the first two games, but I’ve made the best of it so far.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org