NEWINGTON - Last season, the Newington boys’ volleyball team was defeated in the second-round the Class L state tournament. This was following a title at the Class M level in 2012.
The Indians were back playing at the Class M level this season and promptly dominated the league, recapturing the title with a straight-set victory over Oxford---who they also defeated to win the 2012 title. The team was so dominant that 18 of their 22 wins came in straight sets, including the last 10 matches, succeeding their only loss of the season (a 3-2 loss to Cheshire on May 7).
Senior setter Riley McManus was named the most valuable player of the championship victory over Oxford. The captain tallied 30 assists, eight digs, three kills, and two blocks in the final game of his high school career. He finished his senior campaign with 725 total assists, averaging a remarkable 9.1 assist per set.
Despite the match only lasting three sets, Oxford did give the Indians their most competitive game since their lone loss to Cheshire. Oxford managed to score 20 points in all three frames, but in the end Newington finished each set on top (25-22, 25-20, 25-20).
The final was not only a rematch of the 2012 title game, but it was also a showdown of the the top two seeds in Class M play. The top-seeded Indians’ well rounded lineup proved to be too much for Oxford, who came into the contest riding 21-game winning streak.
Junior Bret Sullivan led Newington with a game-high 19 digs. Fellow junior Jordan Aprea and senior Jon Cloutier finished the championship triumph with 12 and 10 kills, respectively.
The team will lose several key seniors to graduation. However, they should be primed to defend their title with a half a dozen juniors (Aprea, Sullivan, Nick Hinchcliffe, Kyle Armour, Vincent Li, and Tyler Callahan) entering their senior seasons.