Barlow Spikers Come Back Against Newtown
In a rematch of the last two South-West Conference championship clashes, visiting Joel Barlow of Redding erased a two games to none deficit to defeat Newtown High School’s girls’ volleyball team 3-2 (23-25, 19-25, 25-21, 25-21, 15-4) on September 30.
The Falcons, pushed to brink of defeat for the first time this fall and having lost more than one game in a match for the first time this campaign, eked it out to improve to 8-0 before extending their winning streak with a 3-0 triumph over Immaculate of Danbury on October 1. The Nighthawks fell to 4-3 but got back into the win column with a 3-0 victory over visiting Notre Dame-Fairfield, also on October 1.
Against Barlow, Kim Buttery had 48 assists, along with four kills, three service aces, and two blocks. Natalie Horn had 15 kills and seven digs. Erin Mitchell logged seven kills and one block. Hannah Groonell tallied three digs and two kills in a solid overall effort, and Genevieve Murray recorded ten kills and a block.
“They’re a strong team. They have what I think is the best player in the state. We know where it it’s going, and it’s still hard to stop her,” Newtown Coach Tom Czaplinski said of Barlow’s Kiara Robichaud, who compiled 38 of her team’s 46 kills, including nine in the decisive fifth game.
“We started off strong. Our biggest issue is consistency. We’re just not consistent,” Czaplinski said.
A 2-0 lead is usually pretty surprising against Barlow, winners of six consecutive conference titles. Czaplinski said that he told his players they could not count on the rest of the match to be as easy as things were going.
Overcoming a two games to none hole in volleyball is not so easy, and to do it against a tough Newtown squad is all the more difficult.
“It’s very hard, especially against a team like that,” Barlow coach Carol Asplund said.
Asplund said her team was adjusting to some changes in the lineup due to injury and that it became stronger as the match went on.
Newtown held a 20-18 lead in game three but couldn’t put the Falcons away.
Game four was tight throughout. The Falcons took a 10-7 lead before four straight Nighthawk points, culminating with a Veronica Kroha kill, put the hosts in front. Buttery ended a long, back-and-forth sequence highlighted by stellar defensive plays on both sides of the net when she tapped the ball over for a 12-10 lead.
A kill by Horn made it 14-11 Nighthawks, and a long Barlow hit extended the lead to four. Barlow clawed back and seized an 18-17 lead. A kill by Sarah Nowacki and block by Mitchell evened the score at 19 and then 20, but the Falcons finished on a 5-1 run.
Barlow jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the decisive fifth game, and the Falcons never looked back.
The Nighthawks will get another chance against Barlow in an October 24 match in Redding, scheduled for 5:30 pm.
“We’ve got a lot of other things to do before we worry about playing them again,” Czaplinski said.
Newtown returned to the court for the Notre Dame match and prevailed 3-0 (25-15, 25-10, 25-19). Buttery had five kills, 20 assists, and a trio of digs. Groonell had eight kills and four aces. Murray tallied four kills and a pair of blocks. Czaplinski said his team is still looking to find some consistency.
The Hawks have nine competitions before the rematch, and possible SWC championship preview, with Barlow.
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