NEWINGTON - In Wednesdayâ€™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 Indiansâ€™ eighth in a row against Enfield, with six of those wins coming by way of 3-0 sweeps.
â€ś[All games] all going to be a challenge at some point,â€ť Indians head coach Curt Burns said. â€śI tried to get a lot of guys some work today â€¦ we used about 13 guys today, which is good. We just wanted to make sure we didnâ€™t go more than three sets. We always try to close a match in three.â€ť
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.
â€śWe were doing a lot of subbing and rotations,â€ť senior Teddy Fravel said of the second set. â€śAt the start of some sets we might lose focus, but we always kick it back into gear.â€ť
Fravel made sure the Eagles didnâ€™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.
â€śUsually I have Julian [Ortiz] serve for me, so serving is kind of rare for me,â€ť Fravel said, after finishing with four kills. â€śI was excited. I wasnâ€™t expecting it, but it was cool.â€ť
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 teamâ€™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 couldnâ€™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.
â€śHeâ€™s got a big arm,â€ť Burns said of Baclawskiâ€™s serving. â€śSometimes heâ€™s a little bit gun shy about it, but once he feels it, he goes with it. We always give him the green light.â€ť
Enfield opened the second set with a pair of service errors to help the Indians build a quick 4-1 lead, but following an Eaglesâ€™ 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, Fravelâ€™s unexpected serving prowess helped keep Newingtonâ€™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 didnâ€™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.
â€śJumping out to a lead like that is great,â€ť Egbuna said, after recording a team-high 10 kills. â€śPeople from the bench can come out and jump in, and thereâ€™s no pressure. It helps bring out the best in us.â€ť
Ryan Chichester can be reached at (860) 801-5094 or firstname.lastname@example.org