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Boys’ Volleyball Team Heads Into Postseason



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Newtown High School’s boys’ volleyball team went into the Wednesday, May 22, South-West Conference Tournament semifinals with a pretty quick rematch turnaround. The Nighthawks and Masuk Panthers were to square off for the second time in less than a week following Masuk’s 3-1 (25-22, 16-25, 25-21, 25-21) win at Newtown on May 17. A spot in the Friday, May 24, championship match is on the line as these foes match up at Masuk's gym at 6 pm.

Newtown earned the No. 3 seed and Masuk the No. 2 spot and home court advantage for the semifinal contest in this four-team tourney.

“I think we’re ready for every team in the SWC. It’s a matter of we come ready for the match and do our job,” Newtown Coach Ardi Kodzodziku said. “We just need to have the same fire we had against Barlow against every team moving forward.”

Newtown’s coach was referring to his team handing Joel Barlow of Redding its first and only loss this spring in a four-setter on May 14.

“This is a huge win for the boys. It’s not only a win in the books but a huge win for their confidence. We fought so hard and gave it our all in the match. The boys played at such a high level, intelligent side out game, and had great decision-making all around. We trusted our training and stayed true to our game,” Kodzodziku said. “Most importantly, we played as a team and supported one another in hard times throughout the match. If we can keep that team culture and energy up we will be a very hard team to beat.”

Barlow had beaten Newtown earlier in the campaign, in the match that counts in the SWC standings, and Barlow earned the top seed and a matchup with No. 4 Pomperaug of Southbury in the tourney semifinals.

In Newtown’s late-season match with Masuk, Charlie Hanson had 14 kills, ten digs, and three blocks; A.J. Zatulskis posted two kills, three digs, three blocks, and an ace; Nate Twitchell had nine kills, seven digs, five blocks, and two aces; Warner Bacon logged four kills, three blocks, and two digs; Max McCarthy had two kills, two digs, and one block; Tim Via logged one kill and one block; Matt Tomaj racked up 30 assists to go along with two kills, three digs, and a pair of blocks; and Cole Sgagliardich recorded two kills and two blocks.

The Nighthawks rebounded with a three-set win at Brookfield on May 20. Hanson had 14 kills, six digs, and two aces; Twitchell had six kills and six aces; McCarthy registered three kills and two blocks; Zatulskis had five kills, three digs, and three aces; Tomaj compiled 35 assists as well as two kills and a block; Noel McLeod had two kills and four digs; Via had one kill and one dig; and Eli Sullivan had five digs and an ace.

The Nighthawks entered into the postseason looking to advance not only in the conference tourney but also in the upcoming state playoffs.

“These boys deserve nothing but success — can’t wait to see how far we can take this season,” Kodzodziku said.

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

A.J. Zatulskis, left, and Warner Bacon go up for a block during a May 17 match against Masuk of Monroe. —Bee Photos, Hutchison
Charlie Hanson smashes the ball over the net.
Cole Sgagliardich gets his arms up for a block as Charlie Hanson helps out.
Nate Twitchell follows through on his hit.
Warner Bacon, left, and Charlie Hanson team up at net.
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