STRATFORD – The No. 5 Southington Blue Knights (18-2) saw their season come to an end on Wednesday night by way of a sweep from the top-seeded Darien Blue Wave (21-0) in the CIAC Class LL Semifinals.
The semifinal match was played at Bunnell High School as the last two rounds of the tournament are played at a neutral site.
Southington was swept for the first time since mid-September when they faced RHAM early in the season. Knights’ head coach Rich Heitz explained that the Blue Wave came as advertised in Wednesday’s contest.
“[Darien] was certainly the better team tonight,” said Heitz. “We struggled with our ball control and serving which was our two strengths… Those are things we have to be successful at in order to be successful… We knew it was going to be a battle.”
Heitz also noted the size mismatch against a taller Darien team.
The Knights found themselves ahead 11-8 early in the first set with a bit of momentum on their side. A 6-0 run from Darien, however, pushed the game back in their favor.
Southington provided some resistance from that point before the Wave closed things on an 11-3 run. Darien took the opening set 25-18 in what ended being the tightest set of the night.
The second set was as simple as Darien’s ability to string multiple points together was greater than Southington’s. Following the Knights’ fifth point in the set, they didn’t log consecutive points until Darien had already posted 22 points in the set. The Blue Wave secured their second win 25-17.
Southington fell behind early in the final set of the night as Darien built up a 15-5 lead.
Following a timeout from Heitz, Southington tightened things up to finish the set but it was too little too late as Darien punched their ticket to the finals with a 25-16 win.
Darien will face No. 14 Trumbull this Saturday at 10:00 a.m. from East Haven for the CIAC Class LL Championship. Trumbull defeated No. 7 Amity to advance to Saturday.