BOYS VOLLEYBALL NOTES League playoffs should be dandy
It has been a fabulous regular season for the growing sport of boys volleyball in Connecticut.
A number of compelling rivalries have developed in the four major conferences across the state.
The upcoming league playoffs should serve as another showcase for these special meetings, with championship trophies and title banners in the balance.
Darien High School has done nothing wrong — literally — since a season-opening non-league 3-2 road loss at Newtown High School on March 30.
The Blue Wave have won 19 straight matches and 57 consecutive sets to finish at 19-1 overall.
Included in the run was a 3-0 home victory on May 1 over defending FCIAC and Class LL champion Staples High.
No. 1 Darien and No. 2 Staples are the top seeds for the FCIAC tournament that will conclude with a 7 p.m. final at Ludlowe HS gym on May 24.
The Blue Wave and the Wreckers figure to be the last groups standing in the six-team bracket.
Don’t sleep on Staples — which had heavy graduation losses and added a new head coach John Sedlock — this season.
Staples (16-2 overall) won five straight — all by a 3-0 score — after the Darien debacle, before a regular-season-ending 3-2 loss to Danbury.
Danbury — on Staples’ side of the bracket — closed the regular season with nine wins in its last 11. Ridgefield — which has been FCIAC tournament runner-up each of the last six seasons — has been rebuilding after massive graduation losses in 2019 but was vying for a regular-season ending victory over Greenwich Friday to qualify for the state tournament.
On paper, Cheshire High School is the team to chase.
The Rams began 2019 with a 2-3 start. But the losses were to Class M rivals Newington (twice) and Joel Barlow.
From there, Cheshire has been 12-1 with two regular-season clashes left (Daniel Hand on Friday; Farmington on Monday) before the SCC playoffs.
Cheshire captured six SCC tournament titles between 2009 and 2016. The Rams were SCC tourney runners-up in 2017 and ’18.
Can you say hungry?
Southington (19-0) and Newington (18-2) have battled like Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier this season.
Both of Newington’s losses have been to Southington. Southington rallied from 2-0 down for a 3-2 triumph over Newington on April 25.
The Blue Knights and the Indians clashed again on May 14. It could have been on pay-per-view.
Game 1: Southington 30-28. Game 2: Newington 26-24. Game 3: Southington 28-26. Game 4: Newington 25-17. Game 5: Southington 15-7.
Round 3 should be on Thursday in the CCC tourney final. Southington lost in the CCC tourney final in 2017 and ’16 but topped Newington 3-1 to capture the 2018 CCC tourney crown.
Newtown (17-0; heading into Friday’s home match with Kolbe Cathedral) has swept Joel Barlow (15-3) twice this season.
Joel Barlow’s only other loss was to Darien (19 straight wins) on Thursday.
Newtown is defending SWC Tournament champ. Barlow won the title in 2017 and ’16.
The third matchup of this year between the unbeaten Nighthawks and the Falcons has a big question mark at its core.
Barlow’s top hitter, senior co-captain Finn McCaffrey, sat out the Darien loss injured. His status for the postseason is still to be determined.