Lady Wrecker Spikers turn back Warde
When the Staples girls volleyball team needed to rally Wednesday, it found a way to do so.
Host Staples eked out a 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 27-25) victory over a vastly improved Fairfield Warde squad in the season-opener for both teams. Although the Lady Wreckers swept Warde, the match was much closer than a typical blanking would indicate and only 10 points separated the teams.
"I love the way we fought back in the first and third games," Staples coach Jon Shepro said. "We let them rattle off a lot of points but we finally got a few back and got on a good run ourselves."
The Lady Mustangs took control of the first game and led in it for the most part. Junior Tatiana Fernandes (eight service points, three kills, three digs) served five straight points, including an ace to the corner to cap the rally, giving them a 6-1 lead. Fernandes was helped by the play of the front row players.
Lady Wrecker senior tri-captain Anna Link ended the rally with a kill to force a sideout. Link (four kills, five digs, 14 service points, four aces) brought Staples back with her serves and helped her team close the gap.
"Serving is the one the thing you control all the time," Link said. "Every time I served, I knew I had to take a deep breath, relax and focus."
Senior tri-captain Kenzie Roof (five service points, two aces, seven kills, 12 digs) tied it at 13-13 for Staples with three service points, the tying point coming on an ace. Fellow Lady Wrecker senior tri-captain Joosje Grevers (six service points, two aces, seven kills, three blocks, six digs) was a force in the front row and had a block during the rally.
"I'm extremely competitive and my mentality is to do what I can for my team," Grevers said. "I worked extremely hard [in the offseason] and my hard work paid off."
However, Lady Mustang junior Leah Walsh (four kills, four digs, 2 assists, one ace) hit a kill from the back row that bounced in to break the tie to start a 6-1 run. Warde led 19-14 after senior Kitty Caissy (eight service points, five digs) served two points.
Staples nibbled away behind senior setter Dani Kosinski (55 assists, eight service points, one ace, one block, one dig). Kosinski effectively located her hitters in perfect position and Link's three service points cut the lead to one, 20-19.
Walsh's tip kill gave the Lady Mustangs a temporary reprieve but Roof answered with a kill. Lady Wrecker senior Augustine Gradoux-Matt (seven kills, two blocks, one dig) closed out the game with five service points. Roof helped with two kills, including the game-clincher.
Kosinski opened the second Kosinski opened the second game with two service points to set the tone. Staples led throughout and its lead peaked at seven, 21-14.
Warde didn't go down quietly and cut the lead to three before Grevers' kill ended it.
The third game looked like an easy win for the Lady Wreckers after Grevers served four points to make it 7-2. Link's serves kept Staples in front and a Grevers' kill on Kosinski's serve made it 14-10.
This is when the Lady Mustangs started to mount a comeback, starting with Fernandes' kill. Luther's kill cut it to 15-13, and Caissy then served six straight points, two aces, to give Warde a 19-15 lead.
Staples inched back and took a 22-21 lead after Link served two points. A net violation against the Lady Wreckers tied it and, Lady Mustang senior Kelsey Elmendorf (eight service points, nine kills, three digs) served two points to put her team at game-point.
Kosinski had other ideas with a basketball pass kill and, Staples tied it on classmate Amanda Pacilio's (two service points, one ace, seven digs) service point. The Lady Wreckers wrapped it up on Kosinski's two service points, one ace, and the clincher came on Grevers' hit.
"It was a hard game but we had the fight mentality," Grevers said. "We were hungry to win and that kept us going."