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Take last year’s outcome and combine it with Coach Tom Czaplinski’s aspirations for his Newtown High School girls’ volleyball team, and the goal ends up being winning the South-West Conference championship.
“Every year we just want to improve upon where we were the year before,” said Czaplinski, whose squad fell to Joel Barlow of Redding in the SWC title match last year.
To improve on last year’s success, the Nighthawks will need a few players to emerge in bigger roles than they held a season ago, with the loss of three regular contributors to graduation.
Middle hitter Erin Burns and outsider hitter Zoe Beals are the captains and part of a large group of experienced returnees. Outside hitters Sarah Dowling and Rachel O’Grady, right side hitter Julia Anderson, and libero Tess Mubarek round out the six-player senior contingent. Junior setter Kim Buttery is among those who are expected to step into a prominent role at the varsity level for the first time.
“It’s never easy,” Czaplinski said of getting to and winning the championship match. “We are fortunate enough to be returning a lot of experienced players, so that makes it a little easier.”
Read the complete article in the September 8 print edition of The Bee.