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by Kathleen Pulek
The Newington High School
boys volleyball team is look-
ing to ride the wave of its second
11-match win streak of the season
all the way to lucky 13 and the
2014 Class M state championship
“Our goal is to win the cham-
pionship,” NHS head coach Curt
Burns had said before the start
of the season. “We’re not shying
away from it. We have to earn it by
working hard for it.”
The top-seeded Indians took
their first step on the road to a sec-
ond Class M title in three years
with their 18th 3-0 win of the sea-
son (25-17, 25-22, 25-18) besting
Farmington High School in quar-
terfinal action June 6 in the Rich-
ard Rogalski Gymnasium.
Their second step comes
Tuesday, June 10, when NHS
meets number five ranked Joel
Barlow at Fairfield Warde in semi-
final action. Joel Barlow earned
a spot in the final four with a 3-1
victory over number 13 Wethers-
field June 5.
Newington’s final destina-
tion is the Class M championship
match, which will be played Fri-
day, June 13, in Shelton.
The Indians never relin-
quished the lead in the first set of
their third meeting of the season
with their FHS tribal counterparts,
securing the win behind a quar-
tet of kills each from outside hit-
ters Nick Hinchcliffe and Jordan
Aprea. Set two featured 11 dead-
locks before senior Josh Metzger
came in and had three serves to
finish it off.
“We knew that if we jumped
out early in the third set, which we
did, we could probably close out
the match,” according to Burns, in
his 11th season at the NHS helm.
Hinchcliffe and senior middle
blocker Jon Cloutier made sure
the Indians held the third-set lead
from start-to-finish with five kills
“Joel Barlow is a good team
out of the Southwest Conference.
I saw them play back in April dur-
ing the break. We’ve got to get
ready for them. We’ll go over our
scouting report on Saturday and
Monday and be ready and com-
petitive on Tuesday. At tourna-
ment time you pretty much stick
with what got you there. We’ll do
our basics--serve and pass, hit and
block, serve receive and transition.
Those four basics are what got us
here. We practice them every day.
Now it’s all neutral [sites] and we
know our game can travel,” Burns
“I thought my boys played
great tonight. We’re big believers
in what we call service pressure
where we don’t just put the ball
in play, we attack with our serve.
We have a lot of jump servers who
hopefully knock the other team out
of their system, and then we’ll see
easier plays coming back at us.
“We just saw Farmington on
May 31 in the Central Confer-
ence championship game,” he
said. “They were coming off of a
tough five-set semifinal win [over
#2 seed East Hartford] and were
probably a little tired.”
Newington’s 22-1 overall re-
cord includes a pair of 3-0 wins
over Southington and Farmington,
which earned the Indians the Cen-
tral Conference crown.
“Farmington was fresher to-
night. They’re a very good passing
team. They handled a lot of our
better stuff and we had to be ready
for it. Their defense really picked
up in the second and third sets.
“I think we served well
across the board. The serving subs
we made--seniors Austin Collazo
and Josh Metzger--went in and
did a nice job. They changed the
tempo of the sets. Farmington got
used to things and then we brought
in a different look. Long Du, who
started and set this match (37 as-
sists), also has a good jump serve,”
said Burns.
“Our strength is the diversity
in our attack. We have two good
middles. We have two good out-
sides. We also have good opposite
hitters. I think we were pretty bal-
anced across the board so I can’t
single out anyone who was really
dominant. That’s a sign of what we
do. We try to spread it around so
it’s hard for our opponent to read
our attack.”
The 6’4” Hinchcliffe topped
NHS with 13 kills, followed by
nine from Cloutier, in only
his second season of volley-
ball, and eight from Aprea,
who checks in at 5’11” with
a 39-inch vertical leap. Se-
nior opposite hitter Con-
nor Ericson hit .384 for the
match with a half dozen
“We feel we have so
many weapons that we can
keep our opponent guessing
on where the ball is going,
which plays to our strength,”
said Burns. “We did well
on defense but maybe we
could have been a little bet-
ter. I think some of the long
rallies that Farmington won
surprised us a bit. When that
happened we were kind of
like ‘Oh that ball came back
and shouldn’t have come
back,’ so that knocked us
back a bit. We adjusted well
in the third set.”
The NHS defense benefited
from libero Bret Sullivan’s 18 digs
and Aprea’s seven, while Clouti-
er was strong at the net with 2.5
“Bret Sullivan is a very good
first contact guy. He’s important to
our offense because he starts every
rally with a contact if he gets the
ball,” Burns said of the 5’7” ju-
nior. “I’d really like to thank the
students for their support tonight.
This was the best crowd we’ve had
all year, by far.”
Aprea admitted to being “ex-
cited and a little nervous to play a
states game. We stuck together and
pulled it out so tonight was fun.
“Jon Cloutier and Nick
Hinchcliffe were huge on the net.
They’re a big threat. Our setter,
Long Du, put up hittable balls and
they crushed them. Bret Sullivan
steps in every game. He’s always
around. He’s covering. He’s get-
ting some nice digs,” Aprea said.
“Every year our number one
goal is to get to the state champi-
onship. At this point, our opponent
doesn’t matter. We’ve just got to
take it one game at a time. We’re
on our way.”
Indians Boys Volleyball on the Road to State Title
Senior Josh Metzger’s service changes the tempo
of the match against Farmington.
Head coach Curt Burns addresses the Indians after their Class M quarterfinal victory.
Photos by Dave Burnham
by Josh Howard
Rocky Hill has deservingly
received most of the attention this
season in the local softball world.
However, Cromwell and Newing-
ton showed this season why they’ll
be forces to reckon with for years
to come.
Cromwell finished with an in-
consistent 9-11 regular season, be-
fore rebounding by winning their
first two Shoreline Conference
(SLC) tournament games, earning
the 24th seed in the Class S state
tourney. The Panthers then upset
ninth seeded Abbot Tech 8-0, be-
fore eventually losing to eighth
seed Old Saybrook.
Coach Angelo Morrello had
a very young team this season,
with only three seniors on the
roster. The three seniors, Malorie
Leone, Taylor Polizonis and Ni-
cole Poole, were all captains and
played exceptional throughout the
season. Leone led the team in hits
and runs, as well as excelling as a
pitcher. Polizonis and Poole both
finished their senior season with
double-digit in hits.
The trio of seniors will be
missed, but the team returns Kate
Pietraszek and Alyssa Poole fol-
lowing phenomenal freshman
campaigns. The two first-year
players finished first and second
on the team in RBIs. The team will
also have captain and versatile
shortstop Megan Fazekas return-
ing as a senior.
Newington also bounced
back from a slow start this sea-
son, winning seven of their final
eight regular season games. The
late-season run earned the team an
18th seed in the Class LL tourney.
The surging Indians then pasted
higher-seeded Manchester, 11-1,
before eventually falling to second
seed Darien in the second round of
the tournament.
The team will lose a handful
of seniors to graduation, including
captains Alyssa Frohock and Dana
Gionfriddo. Multipurpose third
basewoman Briana Woods, as well
as Brianna Biloud-
eau and Julia Del-
gado, will also be
Pitching sen-
sation Olivia Bur-
gos will be return-
ing for her senior
season. She domi-
nated at a junior,
excelling from the
mound as well as
leading the team
in batting aver-
age, hits, doubles,
triples, and RBIs.
Catcher Katrina
Peck will also be
back for her fi-
nal season. She
was a vital part
to Burgos’ pitch-
ing success and
she also hit two
of the team’s four
homeruns in 2014.
Cromwell and Newington Overachieve in Tournament
Please join us in participating in the
James Melo Memorial Golf Tournament to be
held on June 19 at Indian Hill Country Club.
Come celebrate Jim’s life as a former
past national president of UNICO National,
as well as past chapter president of the New-
ington Chapter of UNICO National.
The tournament will include 18 holes of
golf, lunch, dinner, prizes and a raffle. The
festivities begin at 10 a.m. with registration
and lunch to follow at 11 a.m. Shotgun tee
will begin at noon. The cost for the tourna-
ment will be $150 per player or $50 per per-
son for dinner only.
Proceeds from the James Melo Memorial
Golf Tournament will support Connecticut
Foodshare, UNICO Scholarships and the Yale
Cancer Center “Closer to Free” Fund for Can-
cer Research. Come enjoy a wonderful day of
golf and help celebrate a wonderful man who
touched many people.
James Melo
Memorial Golf
Rocky Hill Youth Football is
now accepting player registrations
for 13 & 14-year-old athletes who
reside in Newington and Crom-
well. If you would like to play
Youth Football for the Rocky Hill
Terriers, register soon at www.
2014 Registration Fees
Football Players: $200 regis-
tration fee.
Cheerleaders: $125 registra-
tion fee.
Please Note: There is a family
maximum of $300, however, late
fees will be applied in addition to
the family maximum amount.
There is a limit of 35 partici-
pants per team. Teams are deter-
mined on a first come, first served
Rocky Hill Youth Football Registration

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