NEWINGTON - In Wednesday’s win against Conard, the Newington boys volleyball team battled to victory in nail-biting fashion, winning each set by four points in a 3-0 sweep.
The Indians made sure to make things a little less stressful on Friday evening against Enfield.
Newington swept away the Eagles (0-2) to move to 4-0 on the young season, winning all three sets comfortably (25-10, 24-14, 25-18). The victory is the Indians’ eighth in a row against Enfield, with six of those wins coming by way of 3-0 sweeps.
“[All games] all going to be a challenge at some point,” Indians head coach Curt Burns said. “I tried to get a lot of guys some work today … we used about 13 guys today, which is good. We just wanted to make sure we didn’t go more than three sets. We always try to close a match in three.”
Newington had little trouble keeping the match to three sets, save for a brief battle in the second set where the score was 14-12 Indians, shortly before they rattled off a 9-0 run to win.
“We were doing a lot of subbing and rotations,” senior Teddy Fravel said of the second set. “At the start of some sets we might lose focus, but we always kick it back into gear.”
Fravel made sure the Eagles didn’t hang around too long by burying a set of service aces during the late Indians run, the second coming on the final point of a set, sparking a celebration from Fravel, who is used to making his impact at the front of the net.
“Usually I have Julian [Ortiz] serve for me, so serving is kind of rare for me,” Fravel said, after finishing with four kills. “I was excited. I wasn’t expecting it, but it was cool.”
While Fravel admitted to a brief lack of focus in the second set, Newington had no such problems to start the match. The Indians started fast behind one of their reigning all-conference selections in senior Leonel Caceres, who snuck in a pair of service aces to immediately put Newington up 2-0. A block by Mason Romano minutes later made it 4-1 Indians, a lead that grew to 6-1, with half of the team’s points coming by way of aces.
A long volley ended with a kill by Louis Egbuna to push the lead to 7-1 and force an Enfield timeout, which couldn’t settle the Eagles. Newington came out of the break with four straight, including a laser of a service ace from Jacob Baclawski to put the Indians ahead 11-1.
Romano pounded down another kill later in the set off a perfect assist from Caceres to give Newington its largest lead of the game at 12 and cruised to a 25-10 win thanks to more powerful serving from Baclawski, who led the team with four service aces on the night.
“He’s got a big arm,” Burns said of Baclawski’s serving. “Sometimes he’s a little bit gun shy about it, but once he feels it, he goes with it. We always give him the green light.”
Enfield opened the second set with a pair of service errors to help the Indians build a quick 4-1 lead, but following an Eagles’ timeout, Enfield rattled off three straight points to creep within 10-6, but a big block up front by Fravel put Newington temporarily back in control. After a brief Eagles run cut the deficit down to two, Fravel’s unexpected serving prowess helped keep Newington’s goal of a sweep alive.
The Eagles cured their early-set mistakes in the third by grabbing a quick 3-0 lead, but this time, the Indians didn’t wait to regain their focus. Ten straight Newington points gave the Indians a 10-3 lead behind the serving of Baclawski, as Burns began to empty his bench.
The bench players immediately contributed, as a kill by Keenan Esau and an ace by Jasper Cayunda helped stall an Enfield run and put Newington ahead 13-9. Later in the set, a block and a kill Razik Amodou, also coming off the bench, made it 16-12.
“Jumping out to a lead like that is great,” Egbuna said, after recording a team-high 10 kills. “People from the bench can come out and jump in, and there’s no pressure. It helps bring out the best in us.”
Ryan Chichester can be reached at (860) 801-5094 or firstname.lastname@example.org