Darien overcomes Newtown to reach Class L boys volleyball semis

DARIEN — Not many teams have been able to push the Darien boys volleyball team this season.

Nevertheless, the Blue Wave received all it could handle from Newtown, which held leads in each of the three sets before Darien pulled away for a 3-0 win on its home court in the CIAC Class L quarterfinals Friday.

It’s no secret where the Wave found that something extra en route to the win.

“It’s how we prepare in practice,” junior tri-captain Trevor Herget said. “And If we prepare the way we should over the next three days, then we’ll be ready for the next match against Ridgefield (in the semis).”

Top-seeded Darien (24-0) defeated No. 8 Newtown (15-7) by scores of 25-15, 25-20 and 25-22 to claim its 23rd shutout of the season, and its 47th consecutive victory dating to the start of the 2021 season.

The Wave, which defeated Trumbull 3-0 for a repeat FCIAC crown this past Friday, is bidding for a second straight Class L title, and will face No. 4 Ridgefield in the semifinals on Tuesday, at a time and site to be announced. Ridgefield defeated No. 5 Enfield 3-2 in the quarterfinals.

Darien has appeared in the state semifinals in 12 of the past 13 tournaments.

For Newtown, it was the end of the road, but they went out fighting, coach Sandy Doski said.

“We wanted to just play our best; go and show Darien what Newtown’s all about,” Doski said. “We’ve got some strong hitters just like they do; I played two or three freshmen out there. We knew it was going to be a really tough match. We just wanted to give them a battle.”

Herget had a phenomenal performance, collecting 29 kills, with many coming at opportune times to slow any gathering Newtown momentum. He also had five aces and nine digs.

Senior co-captain Luke Bradbury added 12 kills and nine digs, sophomore setter Griffith Crouse had 39 assists, and senior Daniel Morrissey had four kills and three blocks.

For Newtown, senior Teddy Teraszkiewicz had nine kills and four digs, and senior setter Matt Mattera had 16 assists, three kills and six digs.

“I know a couple of players on their team and that makes it super fun, because it makes you want to play harder and compete more,” Darien senior tri-captain Luke Bradbury said of Newtown. “They were really good competition and really pushed us to play better.”

The teams were tied 10-10 in the first set when the Wave went on an 8-1 run to open it up on the way to a 10-point win.

In the second set, the Nighthawks were within one at 17-16 when Darien closed with an 8-4 run.

In the final set, Newtown led late at 18-16 before the Wave rallied with four straight points, eventually winning by three.

“They have heart and they don’t want to let this season end,” Doski said of her team. “They picked one another up today. When somebody was down, somebody else stepped in. That’s really what Newtown’s all about. They love the team bonding and the team effort of playing here.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Trevor Herget, Darien: Herget racked up 29 kills to lead the Blue Wave offense and many of those hits came at key moments.

QUOTABLE

“It’s hard when you just go and blow out teams, but when you play a really good team who pushes you, it’s fun and it makes the team even better.” — Darien senior Luke Bradbury

david.stewart@hearstmediact.com; @dstewartsports

NO. 1 DARIEN 3, NO. 8 NEWTOWN 0

NEWTOWN 15 20 22 —0

DARIEN 25 25 25 — 3

Newtown: Teddy Teraszkiewicz 9 kills, 4 digs; Matt Mattera 16 assists, 3 kills, 6 digs; Nico Diaz 3 kills, 5 digs; Will Connors 6 digs.

Darien: Trevor Herget 26 kills, 5 aces, 9 digs; Luke Bradbury 12 kills, 9 digs; Daniel Morrissey 4 kills, 3 blocks; Griffith Crouse 39 assists, 3 digs; Jeff Nduatri 5 digs; Trey Davenport 3 blocks.