SOUTHINGTON – The Hornets proved why this year they will be a force to be reckoned with as they improved to 5-0 on the year after defeating the Southington Blue Knights, 3-1.
Senior outside hitter, Jodie Holloway, who finished the game with 18 kills, 13 digs and 2 aces, was the backbone for a Hornets team who saw themselves in a dogfight in the first two sets.
The Blue Knights had a chance to tie the overall sets at one a piece fueled by their hot 13-7 lead in set two, but a furious rally by the Hornets captured set two, 26-24. The Hornets would drop set three, 27-25, but would win set four 25-15 to secure a 3-1 win.
Hornets’ head coach, Martin Martinez, spoke about several issues his team had in the game where he pointed out set three in particular.
“Set three we never had control of our offense,” said Martinez. “We were out of our game passing wise so we weren’t really able to get to our offense. Once we were able to get to our offense, I think our guys got a little bit into a safe mode. Big credit to Southington who took advantage of the free balls we gave them which turned out to be the difference in that set.”
Another player who came through in the clutch for the Hornets, was junior, Rafael Cruz III, who finished the game recording 10 kills, five digs and two blocks.
Martinez said Cruz III, by the end of the season, has the potential to be the team’s best player due to his swagger on the volleyball court where nothing seems to knock him off his game.
“Nothing fazes that kid,” said Martinez, “that’s why I like him so much. We can give him the ball at any moment of the game, and he will come through for us.”
Despite the loss, Southington’s head coach, Lou Gianacopolos, said he felt a better connection with his players after this game and is excited for what’s to come this season.
“My setter, Jordan (Brayfield) is showing growth and I’m very happy with that,” he said. “My right side, Louis (Gianacopolos) is doing a great job as well. And Jack (Dietz) is doing a good job as well. I think those were the good takeaways from tonight.”
Next up for the Hornets is a match-up at home against Wethersfield (1-2) Wednesday, April 20th at 5 p.m.
As for the Blue Knights (4-1), they will host Farmington (2-4) Friday, April 22nd at 6 p.m.
East Hartford 3, Southington 1 (25-22, 26-24, 25-27, 25-15)
By: Bobby Martinez, CPTV Sports Digital Media Producer