Tomahawks boys' volleyball team clinches playoffs

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., May. 20, 2011
Senior Will Duden makes a point-saving deflective bump for GHS late in the Maloney match May 16. Photos by Steve Smith.
Senior Will Duden makes a point-saving deflective bump for GHS late in the Maloney match May 16. Photos by Steve Smith.

Despite losing several seniors to graduation last year, losing senior captain Josh Pierpoint to injury, and having another starter move to another town, the Glastonbury High School boys' volleyball team clinched a playoff berth by beating Maloney, 3-1, in front of a home crowd on May 16 and improving to a record of 8-4.

Head coach Pat Ryan, in his 14th season, said he has at least one or two first-year players on the court at any given time, and that has led to a change of strategy from previous years.

“Glastonbury teams are usually very strong offensive teams,” Ryan said. “But, we're not ready to be there this year. This year we have to be a smarter and more defensively-oriented team.”

Ryan said the team's post-season success will largely be determined by who they draw in the early rounds, and the best they can do in the meantime is to keep winning, and improve their seeding.

“We'll probably have a first-round game at home,” he said. “After that, we could run into [perennial powerhouses] Staples or Southington.”

Preparing for those opponents, Ryan said, will mean getting some of the younger players, including several sophomores, to continue to step up and fill in holes.

“Our sophomores have been very strong for us,” Ryan said. “I think we're going to be better next year, and the year after that.”

Sophomore Matt Cyr has stepped up to become the smasher the rest of the team looks for when a crucial point is needed.

“He's doing a lot from the outside,” said Ryan, adding that Cyr will have a down game or two from time to time, but continues to improve. “He is only going to get better.”

Four-year player, setter Will Duden has also been “quarterbacking” the team.

“Will is really the guy who is going to spark the other guys into the play,” said Ryan. “He's the one who is familiar with the flow of the game, and who the hitters are on the other team. He's calling that out.”

Ryan said the team's success this season will be based on how they get those younger players acclimated to both sides of the ball.

“It's getting them [caught up] so we can get a little stronger at blocking and getting more offense out of them,” Ryan said. “Right now, we should be figuring out a way to get more scores out of them, to take the pressure off of the outside hitters and occupy a blocker.”

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