Chicopee Comp captures volleyball title

The Chicopee Comprehensive High School volleyball team celebrates their Western Massachusetts championship.
Reminder Publications photo by Chris Maza
June 6, 2012

By Chris Maza

HOLYOKE — It's as dominant a stretch as any in Western Massachusetts sports.

The Chicopee Comprehensive High School boys volleyball team swept Agawam on June 4 to capture its fourth Western Massachusetts championship in five years at the David M. Bartley Center for Athletics and Recreation at Holyoke Community College.

"It's the greatest feeling in the world. I love my team, my coaches and everybody who has supported us," senior captain Connor Cloutier said. "It feels good to bring a title back to Chicopee."

With the win, the Colts avenged their sole loss in a sectional championship over the last five seasons when they lost to the Brownies 3-0 in 2011.

"I wanted [the championship] back my senior year, so this feels great," senior captain Alex Kuzmenko said. "Last year was just awful because we felt we shouldn't have lost."

The Colts dominated for most of the evening, winning each game 25-19. Each win was capped off by a thunderous kill, the first two by Kuzmenko and the last by Jeff Vautrin, who led the Colts with a strong game overall, including nine kills.

"We prepped really vigorously in practice and success in practice leads to success in games, so I think that was a big factor," Cloutier said.

Both teams sported huge sections of fans that kept the building rocking throughout the games. The positive support from what the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association said was one of the largest crowds for such an event was a big factor in the win according to Cloutier.

"It's easy to feed off of positive energy," he said. "That's half of volleyball, the mental aspect of the game and I think we fed off that energy well tonight."

The win qualifies the Colts for the state tournament, which they won over Natick in 2010, and with such a resounding win over Agawam, confidence is high.

"If we can beat a team as good as Agawam the way we did, I think we can do it in the state tournament, too," Kuzmenko said. "We're confident, but we can't get too cocky."

Chicopee Comp scuffled to start the first game, but turned the tide with three straight kills by Vautrin, Adrian Sanmiguel and Cloutier, which opened up a 17-12 advantage for the Colts and forced Agawam to take a timeout in an attempt to stop the bleeding.

But Kyle Soja's point, followed by another kill by Cloutier kept the momentum going as the Colts took five of the next six points to take a commanding lead they wouldn't relinquish.

The Colts got out to a fast start in the second game, but Agawam wouldn't let them get away without a fight. Down 17-12, Collin Ritter registered three straight points, including two kills, to pull the Brownies within two points.

But Cloutier's point and Soja's ace sparked a 5-1 run to end the game, capped with an emphatic kill by Kuzmenko.

Tied 5-5 in the third game, Comp put together a 7-2 run in which Agawam's two points came on unforced Colts errors to pull ahead and never looked back.

The Colts led by as many as nine points and cruised to the victory.

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