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Nighthawk volleyball team advances to state semis

Published: June 1, 2018

The unblemished season continues for Newtown High’s boys’ volleyball team. The No. 2 seed Nighthawks defeated No. 7 Hall 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-15) in the Class L state tournament quarterfinals, in Newtown, on June 1.

With the win, the Nighthawks will take on No. 3 Ridgefield in the semifinal round, at Fairfield Warde on Monday, June 4, beginning at 6 pm.

“Unbelievable. It’s crazy to think that we’re going to the semifinals,” said Newtown Coach Sandy Doski, whose program is in only its fourth year of existence.

Ardi Kodzodziku had 25 kills, five digs, five service points, an ace, and three blocks. Eric Moore logged two kills, three digs, 28 assists, five service points, and two blocks.

Matt Principi recorded five digs, five service points, and one ace. Robbie Morrill had 13 digs, seven kills, 11 service points, and a pair of aces.

Silas Decker notched seven kills, two digs, three blocks, seven service points, and three aces. Liam Jones had four digs, seven service points, two assists, and an ace. Morten Sande added five kills and four blocks.

Leading 13-11 in game two, the Nighthawks reeled off six unanswered points, capped by a pair of Moore blocks at the net, making it 19-11.

Hall hung around until consecutive Kodzodziku kills, the last of which was a smash at the net set up by Principi’s save, put Newtown up two games to none.

The Hawks trailed by as many as three points in the third game and didn’t take their first lead until Decker’s spike made it 14-13 Newtown.

After Hall answered to even the score, the Nighthawks went on an 11-1 run to close things out.

Decker’s kill made it 15-14, and two straight Decker aces pushed the lead to 17-14. Kodzodziku’s kill extended the lead to four, prompting Hall to take a timeout.

Newtown went up by five on an errant Hall hit. Although Hall managed the next point, despite a diving save by Moore earlier in the rally, momentum was not slowed. Kodzodziku’s spike made it 20-15. Two straight Hall hits out of bounds and a Sande kill brought the lead to 23-15. Kodzodziku added a kill and Hall’s final hit went into the net to seal the Nighthawk victory.

“I honestly did not expect us to do this well this year. I didn’t expect us to go undefeated and get past the second round of states,” Kodzodziku said.

A key to Newtown’s success is simply not being satisfied.

“No matter how much we win we know we have to stay humble and keep improving,” Kodzodziku said.

“I’m extremely proud of these guys. They worked hard for this,” Doski said. “In the beginning of the year I never would have expected us to be 17-0. But as the season played out and the way we gelled I would have been upset if we lost a match.”

The Nighthawks won the South-West Conference championship and now are two wins away from a state crown. Doski said she expects her team to have to be at its best in order to defeat a strong FCIAC team in Ridgefield.

“We’ve got to bring our ‘A’ game with us,” Doski said.

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