NEWINGTON -- The Newington boys volleyball team isnâ€™t accustomed to losing and getting shut out is just not something that happens to the Norâ€™easters very often.
So Thursdayâ€™s 3-0 loss to Wethersfield doesnâ€™t appear to make a whole lot of sense until you factor in players not in the lineup because of April vacation.
Missing its starting setter, senior Eni Lici, Newington was without a key cog in their usual dominant lineup.
â€śItâ€™s such an important position,â€ť Norâ€™easters coach Curt Burns said. â€śItâ€™s like your quarterback of your football team or your point guard of your basketball team, and then when you put guys in who have never really set before, at least at the varsity level, itâ€™s a tough adjustment.â€ť
Sets were a problem for Newington in the match against the Eagles as multiple fouls were called on the Norâ€™easters for illegal sets throughout the match.
â€śWeâ€™re missing some guys because of vacation and had to throw some guys in who were really not familiar with the positions they played [Thursday] and it got frustrating because if weâ€™re full-stocked weâ€™ll be fine,â€ť Burns said.
Dennis Nguyen had to step up in Lici's absence on Thursday, and led the home team with 17 assists in the match.
In its 3-0 win against Lewis Mills on Monday, Lici dolled out 22 assists which averaged to 7.3 assists per set. Newington also missed Lici when it came to serves as he finished with a 94.4 serve percentage after the first match.
Now in the unique position of coming off a loss, the Norâ€™easters have some early season adversity thatâ€™ll test how this yearâ€™s team measures up to the state champion squads of years past.
â€śHopefully weâ€™ll be back to full strength next week when the kids are back from vacation,â€ť Burns said. â€śItâ€™s not just us, but other teams are missing players too, but thatâ€™s all we can do is just put this match and this week behind us and get ready for the rest of the season.â€ť
Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.