SOUTHINGTON - The Southington girls volleyball team has proven it wants be one of the lead contenders to take the CCC Tournament title.
With their winning streak up now up to eight, the Blue Knights took down Platt 3-0, winning each of the sets by nine points or more (25-17, 25-16, 25-15) Wednesday night.
“I thought we played good floor defense,”Southington head coach Richard Heitz said. “I thought our passing was consistent and our serving was real well. You know, you get to tournament time and it’s survive and advance and every team that you’re playing has had a good season. You just have to come out and play.”
It was a match the Blue Knights controlled from start to finish and were bolstered by utilizing a different lineup against the Panthers than during the course of the season. Heitz made some necessary adjustments on the line to make sure he was getting the optimum performance from his players.
“We just wanted to make sure everyone had a lot of energy and just bring do what we know we can,” Southington libero Lynsey Danko said.
The Blue Knights had swept Platt earlier in the season and the head coach knew his team would be getting a better match the second time around.
“You kind of worry about that stuff,” Heitz said. “They’re fired up a little bit at times. I know with our kids, if we drop a set we’re going to come back a second time. I thought Platt swung the ball pretty well at times. They were a little more aggressive this time.”
The Panthers never had the chance to surpass the Blue Knights in the first set, coming as close as 14-13 before Southington responded with a four-point run. The Blue Knights continued with another four-point run to take the first game 25-17.
“I used two libero’s today,” Heitz said. “Lynsey Danko, I thought she did a wonderful job in the first game. Then, Nolyn Allen who is our regular libero and she played the last two sets, she’s just a great servicing passer.”
The two libero’s proved to be a major factors in Southington’s victory. Danko had six digs while Allen had 11 of her own.
Stephanie Zera lead the team with 23 assists, while Hannah Zelina scored 14 service points and Jenna Martin had four aces.
“Going into today I knew they were going to be a good team, so it was all about mental toughness and trying to lift the team up,” Allen said. “We didn’t think it was going to be easy and we didn’t want to take them lightly. We expected them to be better and they definitely were.”
The second set was a bit tougher for the Blue Knights. Despite the Panthers constantly trailing, it wasn’t until another four-point run that provided Southington some insurance, the Blue Knights were able to put the game away, taking the second set 25-16.
As the third set rolled around, the Blue Knights made sure Platt never had a chance to stage any sort of comeback.
Already controlling the game, Southington used two separate runs of seven and five to close out the match by winning the final set 25-15.
“We knew we had to play our best to pull out a win,” Zera said. “We also knew that they were going to come out stronger, which they did, they’re a really good team.”