NEW BRITAIN - The beginning of an era was marked at New Britain High School on Wednesday night, as the New Britain boys volleyball team took the floor in front of its home fans for the first time in program history.
The euphoria lasted until early in the first set, when the Hurricanes watched an early 3-0 lead turn into a 25-15 loss to Bloomfield, which turned into a three-set sweep 25-15, 25-15, 25-13.
“We stressed that you only get one chance at a first home opener in history,” New Britain head coach Michelle Abraham said. “They came out thinking it was going to be their day, and I think it let them down a little bit.”
The Hurricanes (0-2) struggled to slow down the Warhawks’ Chaddane Williams, who finished with seven kills and was a menace up front for most of the evening. When Williams wandered the back row, he delivered three service aces to help Bloomfield earn its first win of the season.
New Britain’s early 3-0 lead in the first set quickly evaporated after Bloomfield scored eight straight behind three kills from 2018 all-conference selection Williams, forcing a timeout from the Hurricanes.
Trailing 17-10 later in the set, Erick Paheco delivered back-to-back service aces for the Hurricanes to pull within five, but Bloomfield answered back with two of its own to force another timeout from Abraham. New Britain never got closer than seven points for the remainder of the first set, as a Williams recorded a monstrous kill and block on the final two volleys to seal a 25-15 win.
The Hurricanes continued to have issues with Williams and Emmanuel Goods up front, as the Warhawks (1-1) flew out to a 15-5 lead in the second set. New Britain responded with four straight thanks to two service aces from Giovany Hernandez, but a service error ended the mini-run and put Bloomfield back in control.
“Those two middles were a lot stronger than Farmington’s,” Abraham said of Williams and Goods, compared to the Hurricanes’ first opponent of the season. “When they send free balls over, we have to take advantage. We can’t give it to them free. We saw the results of that tonight, and it’s going to be a challenge until that changes.”
Goods ended the second set with a thunderous kill off a set from Rohan Green, sending the Warhawks into the break with a commanding lead.
New Britain opened the third set with a 6-3 lead, highlighted by Jerry Chungong keeping a missile of a kill attempt from Williams alive, leading to the Hurricanes’ second point of the set. Bloomfield battled back with four points in a row behind two straight aces from Williams to help the Warhawks take a 7-6 lead, one they would not give back.
The Hurricanes would tie it one more time at 8-8 before a service error followed by a service ace by Bloomfield made it 11-8. New Britain pulled to 11-10, but a kill attempt by Jose Anthony Olmeda was blocked by Williams to deny the Hurricanes’ bid to pull even and begin a stretch of nine straight points for the Warhawks, who took a 20-10 lead.
“Their movement was better,” Abraham said of her team’s improved start in the final set. “They had a better idea of where to be on the court. They let the last two games go and it was a fresh start. Some of the passes were a little better, but they have to communicate a lot more.”
Communication was a major difference in the match, which the Hurricanes attribute to an obvious lack of experience when it comes to sharing a court together, as the team is just two matches old.
“They’ve been together for four years, and we’ve been together for two games,” Olmeda said. “In the beginning of the game we were nervous, because it was our first game here, but we got confident and started doing better. We improved, and that’s what we wanted.”
New Britain continued its improved play and responded with two straight thanks to the serving of Oscar Carmona, but Bloomfield closed the set and the match out, leaving the Hurricanes still searching for the program’s first set and match victory.
“We need to learn how to receive the ball and be confident,” Paheco said. “Even though we lost, we won because we earned knowledge for the next game. We learned a lot.”