Volleyball Completes Dream Season
Cutters defeat Southern to win state championship
SOUTH BRUNSWICK - When middle blocker Chris Colomier saw all of the defensive attention to given to his teammates on the outside as he reviewed the film from Fair Lawn’s previous matchup against Southern Regional, he knew the opportunity would be there for him to have a huge performance.
Not only did Colomier follow through on that opportunity, he delivered what he called the best match of his life.
Colomier had six kills, including the title-clinching point as the Cutters capped off a dream season with a 25-17, 25-23 victory Thursday at South Brunswick High School for their second-ever state championship.
“We were in school and I had some down time to myself and I’m looking at the film,” Colomier said. “I was watching the film before the game and I saw them, when I would jump up and they wouldn’t even mark me. This was my game, I had to help Dan (Nugent) out.”
“I told him that he was going to be key,” said head coach Peter Zisa. “When we were looking at tape they were so cognizant of getting to the outside and taking care of our outsides that by running a 31 or a B-gap set, he was going to be able to get some opportunities. And he came up big.”
Colomier was on the bench as Fair Lawn (37-2) saw its second set lead vanish. But when the junior re-entered the match with the game on the line, Colomier wanted the ball knowing that he wouldn’t be the focus of the Southern (32-8) defense.
“I’m coming in the game and I’m like I got to come in here and end it and they’re not going to know it. They’re looking to (stop) Dan and Chris (Nugent), they’re not even going to think about me so I went to (setter) Brian (Toron) and said ‘Brian, give me the ball,’ and I went up there, he gave me the ball and I just spiked it down.”
The kill marked the end of a stressful second set which saw the Cutters get out to 7-0 and 18-12 leads only to lose them to a resilient Rams squad which had won the previous two state titles.
Tied at 18-all, Dan Nugent would give Fair Lawn the lead for good with a back-row kill which landed just inside the back line. The Cutters would be up 23-19 when Southern mounted one last comeback attempt with three-straight points. But Fair Lawn would hold on with a back-line kill from Dan Nugent and Colomier’s winning kill two plays later.
“They’re a great team so of course they’re going to fight back,” Dan Nugent said. “They’ve been here three years in a row and they’re well-coached.”
Despite being checked by multiple Southern defenders on virtually every play, Nugent, a senior, had another huge game for Fair Lawn with 18 kills and five digs.
“My motto is until he gets stopped, we aren’t going to go elsewhere (on offense),” Zisa said. “He was starting to get stopped towards the end so we moved him around to the back row.”
Toron had 26 assists and five digs and Oren Zyndorf added 11 digs. Chris Nugent chipped in with four kills and four digs.
The win was the first time a team from North Jersey had won the state title since Fair Lawn had defeated Bridgewater-Raritan in 1995, prompting Zisa and Colomier to note that they were representing the entire region in addition to their home school. This was the Cutters’ second-ever state championship.
“It feels great to be the Fair Lawn team that finally does it,” Dan Nugent said. “Its been 16 years and it feels great for this Fair Lawn team to be the one that does it again.”
“It’s been a dream season,” Zisa said. “It’s been an absolute dream season. I couldn’t have scripted it better.”