WHS volleyball seniors (L-R) Christian Bahouth. Dylan Knapp, Jake Kozlowski, Adam Schlapfer, and Jonathan Hubschmitt. Photo credit: Jo-Ann Campbell
Wethersfield boys’ volleyball was eliminated from the Class M tournament, losing to Farmington in four sets last Tuesday at WHS.
The loss ended a successful spring for first-year head coach Katie Stanley, who guided the Eagles to 11 wins in her debut season.
“It was kind of a challenging to come in here, especially after missing that year,” said Stanley, who also coached girls volleyball in the fall, “For the seniors, they missed their junior year and that’s a big year, but I also think we used that to get them going. They were ready to go.”
Despite having only one player with varsity experience, the team won five of six to start the season, including an impressive three-set win over powerhouse Newington. It was one of only two regular season losses for the reigning Class M champs from Newington.
Senior captains Christian Bahouth and Dylan Knapp led the way on the court.
The pair quickly formed a potent inside-out tandem, Bahouth as the setter and Knapp as a forceful outside hitter.
Bahouth finished with a team-high 398 assists and Knapp led the team with 276 kills.
Stanley said the pair developed a great rapport, “They definitely had to work on it. They played with each other before and they have a really good relationship in that way, which worked out nicely throughout the season.”
Knapp’s younger brother, junior Andrew Knapp, led the team in aces (36) and finished second on the team in kills (143).
Stanley added that the siblings displayed a healthy and competitive nature on the court.
“We did a doubles tournament and they were on each other’s team, and they are either in-synch with each other or wanting to kill each other,” joked Stanley.
The younger Knapp will be returning next season, as will John Lleshi, who was a first-year player.
Stanley was impressed with Lleshi’s skills, “He’s been tremendous throughout the year. He was definitely a football player to start, and he grew into that position [as a volleyball player] and now I think he loves it.”
The older Knapp, along with Bahouth, libero Jonathan Hubschmitt ( team-high 57 digs), Adam Schlapfer (33 aces), and Jake Kozlowski played their final game last Tuesday.
Early on the Eagles played with energy, winning the first set 25-14 behind six kills from [Dylan] Knapp.
Farmington rallied to win the next three sets thanks to the consistent play of captain Mike Bobylov and setter Jack Dunphy.
Stanley thought the Eagles had the right mindset, but were unable to finish, “We came in really strong with this positive attitude and with a lot of energy and then it was kind of like a roller coaster. I tell them that all the time, we have really high highs, but then they get down and to get back up is kind of challenging.”
“They learned to trust each other and work together,” added Stanley about the teams’ progress this spring, “When they have that energy, they are unstoppable.”
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin