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Boys’ Volleyball Team Beats Woodstock Academy, Loses At Cheshire



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CHESHIRE — Seeded No. 6 in the Class M State Tournament, the Newtown High School boys’ volleyball team got the job done with a first-round home victory, defeating No. 11 Woodstock Academy 3-0 (25-16, 25-9, 26-24) on May 29. Then came a visit to No. 3 Cheshire, a lineup the Nighthawks lost to in three sets during the regular season, in the quarterfinals on May 31. The Nighthawks battled hard but saw their season come to an end as the Rams prevailed 3-1 (25-16, 25-18, 25-27, 25-20).

“I think they played a clean game. We had too many ups and downs where we made the game harder on ourselves,” specifically in side outs, Newtown Coach Ardi Kodzodziku said.

The Rams had a dominant presence at the net with eight blocks for points and several other blocks that denied would-be Newtown kills.

Newtown avoided a three-set exit by coming out on top in a battle of third game. NHS built an 11-4 lead before the Rams climbed back, ultimately going ahead 17-16 in that set. It was back-and-forth the rest of the way with the Hawks claiming a pair of two-point advantages. The game went to match point for Cheshire when a Nate Twitchell kill evened the score at 24 apiece. Twitchell had a kill to tie things again, at 25. Then Cole Sgagliardich’s block at the net, followed by Charlie Hanson’s kill, closed out the set and forced game four.

Cheshire jumped out to a 10-3 lead and Newtown made a few runs but never got things closer than five points until climbing to within 23-19.

When all was said and done Twitchell had 14 kills and four blocks; Hanson logged 16 kills, two blocks, and seven digs; Warner Bacon had six kills, three blocks, and a trio of digs; A.J. Zatulskis had three kills, an ace, and seven digs; Cole Sgagliardich recorded two kills, five blocks, and two digs; and Matt Tomaj had two kills and three digs.

In the win over Woodstock Academy, Newtown followed up its dominant second-set victory with an eke out triumph to close out the match. The clinching set featured 11 ties. Newtown went ahead by as many as four points before Woodstock Academy fought to take a 22-21 lead. Twitchell’s kill tied it and Hanson’s cross-court slam made it 23-22 Newtown. Max McCarthy scored a key point for a 24-22 NHS edge. After Woodstock Academy tied the score for the final time Hanson delivered consecutive kills to close things out.

Twitchell compiled 14 kills, two blocks, two digs, and two aces; Hanson had 13 kills, six digs, one block, and a trio of aces; Tomaj racked up 36 assists to go along with four kills, four digs, and an ace; Zatulskis recorded four kills, one dig, one ace, and two blocks; Eli Sullivan logged 15 digs; McCarthy had five kills and a block; Noel McLeod had one kill and five digs; and Bacon had one kill, one block, and an ace.

Overall, this was a memorable year for the Hawks, who handed Joel Barlow of Redding its only defeat along the way.

“I think the team has improved dramatically from last year,” Kodzodziku said.

At the start of this spring, the Hawks had eight middle hitters, many of whom needed to take on other positions, on the outside or in the back row. “Everyone took on new roles and ran with them this year,” the coach said.

“It was a great year,” said Kodzodziku, adding that the players were hard-working and respectful throughout the campaign.

Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at andyh@thebee.com.

Warner Bacon goes up for a block during a State Tournament win over Woodstock Academy. —Bee Photos, Hutchison
Max McCarthy delivers a hit over the net.
Charlie Hanson digs the ball during Newtown’s quarterfinal-round loss at Cheshire.
Nate Twitchell looks to hit the ball between defenders.
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