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Just three years ago, boys’ volleyball was a startup program at Newtown High School. What a long way the Nighthawks have come. In the team’s second-to-last match of the regular season, the Hawks clinched a state playoff berth with a 3-0 (25-12, 25-12, 25-13) victory over host Fairfield Ludlowe.
“We’re very excited and it only being a third-year program it’s a big accomplishment for these guys,” Newtown Coach Sandy Doski said.
The Nighthawks improved to 8-9 overall, and will close out the regular season with a visit to South-West Conference rival Masuk of Monroe on Monday, May 22, beginning at 5:15 pm.
Ardi Kodzodziku had eight kills and three digs, Jackson Fletcher compiled five kills and eight digs, Liam Jones racked up 15 assists, Eric Moore registered five assists and a service ace, and Aidan Ford logged four assists.
The spot in the postseason was officially Newtown’s when Robbie Morrill put away the final point with a kill at the net.
Doski is proud of her squad given the turnaround season they’ve put together after winning just two matches in each of the program’s first two campaigns. Doski has been pleased with the progress this spring alone.
“I think we’re peaking at the right time,” said Doski, whose squad defeated Masuk 3-1 on May 16, and dropped a hard-fought 3-2 decision to 11-win Oxford, another SWC team, the next day. “The last two or three games they have really improved their play and it’s shown in the scores.
“Communication has improved tremendously, our serving has improved tremendously. Opponents have to earn their points against us now. Our hitting has really come along. Setters have been able to put the ball where my hitters need it,” Doski added.
Outsider hitters Kodzodziku and Fletcher, and middle hitter Decker have taken advantage of the improved setting game.
Newtown was in contention for the South-West Conference championship match – the top teams in the five-school field qualify for title clash – and held a 2-0 lead over Oxford before seeing the visitors come from behind and end those hopes.
“We were a little disappointed not to make SWCs. We had it in our hands but let it slip away,” Doski said.
The state playoff qualification, however, is something Doski and her players can be thrilled about.
“This is something that proves how far we’ve come but we don’t want that to be the end of it,” said Fletcher, a team captain, adding that the Hawks hope to put forth a strong effort in their state playoff opener (opponent to be determined) and for the team to carry this momentum into next season.