MIDDLETOWN >> Coach Kelvin Jones nailed the difference between this year’s Middletown girls volleyball team and the teams of the recent past.
“In the past, I would be talking about the mistakes we made that contributed to our losses,” Jones said. “This year, I’m talking about the mistakes we made after we win and how we are eliminating them so we can be even better.”
So far, the Blue Dragons are pretty good.
They won their fifth match in six tries Monday evening, zipping past Weaver of Hartford, 3-0 (25-9, 25-10, 25-11), at the LaBella-Sullivan Gymnasium in a Central Connecticut Conference inter-divisional match.
“I’m not really happy with the errors we made tonight,” Jones said. “If we make these kinds of errors against a better team, the scores would be different. I’m not happy that we made too many service mistakes and too many attack errors. We have to do better.”
In four of Middletown’s five wins, the match has gone to five games.
“That shows that our kids don’t quit,” Jones said. “They don’t give up. After each set, I talk about the mistakes that have to be cleaned up and we’ve gone out and cleaned them up. As the mistakes go down, the wins go up.”
The night began with three aces by Middletown’s Kayla Pieta and the third game ended with a flourish as Kelsey White had four consecutive aces.
There is an interesting story behind the Weaver team. It begins with coach Reggie Hatchett, widely known as head coach of the powerhouse Weaver boys basketball team.
“I sort of came to the rescue of this team,” Hatchett said. “The coach took a job in another school system so there was no coach and therefore no team. But I know a lot of the girls and there is ability here and they wanted to play, so I took the job.”
Because of the late start and the CIAC 10-day practice requirement, Weaver has had only two matches, one against undefeated Glastonbury and the second against once-beaten Middletown.
“It’s really hard to start against two good teams,” Hatchett said. “But our schedule lightens up and the girls are getting the hang of it. I want to keep them optimistic and I think the potential is there to make a run at qualifying for the tournament. I’m really hoping we can get the seven or eight wins we need to make the tournament. It’s been 19 years since Weaver has qualified and that would make our community proud.”
Middletown took that 3-0 lead that Pieta provided and never looked back in the first set. Weaver did close to 6-3, but the Dragons poured it on and won easily. It was the same story in the second game as MHS broke from a 1-1 tie to win going away.
The Beavers made things a little tougher in the second game and were within reach down 14-9, but Middletown closed the game out with an 11-2 run to notch the easy win.
“We’ve gotten very good play all year from White and Jenna Dickes, plus good serving from Pieta and Lisa Tipton, who has really been our most consistent server,” Jones said.
White had five aces and six kills, Dickes had four aces and eight kills and Pieta had six aces to lead the Dragons.
Middletown travels to Enfield on Wednesday. Enfield took a 2-0 lead in the first meeting, but MHS came back to win three in a row to take the match, 3-2.