DARIEN — Tradition has always been the best motivator for Darien High School athletics.

The 2017 Darien High School boys volleyball squad is taking its status as two-time defending FCIAC champion very seriously.

The Blue Wave improved to 3-0 on the young season Friday by sweeping Staples, 25-20, 25-17, 25-13 before an appreciative home crowd.

“Everybody has worked so hard in practice,” said Darien co-captain Tim Herget. “Last year was a solid season. And we feel we can pick up right where we left off.”

Darien’s Gang of Six are all returnees from 2016. The 2017 Blue Wave have the added incentive that five members — co-captains Herget and Alex Preston, Sean McKay, Spencer Jarecke and Zak Swetye — are all seniors looking to put more accolades on their collective high school legacy.

On Friday, these five along with sophomore setter Tyler Herget played every point of the match for the Blue Wave. Except the final match point where senior Sam McMullin swatted home the last kill.

“We like it this way. Everybody can play every position in the rotation,” Darien’s Tim Herget said. “You want athletes on the floor. The coaching staff is eager to teach and we’re all eager to learn all skills and all positions. It makes for a better overall team.”

The versatility of Darien’s Gang of Six is impressive to see and makes it harder for opponents to defend.

“With everybody learning, it makes each of us the best we can be,” said Darien co-captain Preston. “We’re all about the team, period. We play with energy. We play for the fun and love of the sport. And with the same group of six, our communication during matches is great. We’re always on the same page.”

The Blue Wave (3-0 overall, all non-league wins) were businesslike in dispatching a young (just two seniors) and building Staples squad.

“We have just two returning starters from last year,” said Staples coach Dan Cho. “Our kids are energized and willing but still learning. Darien is so strong and so consistent. We respect their tradition and feel it’s always a good time to play Darien. It’s a yardstick that tells us where we are and where we’d ultimately like to go.”

In Game 1, Darien used a 4-1 spurt to build a 20-15 edge that became a 25-20 triumph.

In Game 2, Darien had runs of 6-1 and 5-0 on its way to a 25-17 win and a 2-0 edge.

In Game 3, the relentless quality of the Blue Wave broke Staples (1-1). An 11-2 surge built a 19-9 cushion that became a 25-13 sweep.

While Tyler Herget collected 37 assists, Darien had four players with between five and 13 kills.

“I love our balanced attack. We’re a cohesive unit that has so many weapons,” Darien’s Preston said. “The idea that everybody can score points is a healthy philosophy to carry through the season.”




STAPLES 20 17 13—0

DARIEN 25 25 25—3

Records: Staples 1-1; Darien 3-0.

Highlights: S—Stedman van Arsdale 5 kills; Luke Press 5 kills, 2 blocks; Logan Carstens 12 assists. D—Alex Preston 10 kills, 6 digs, 5 service points; Tim Herget 13 kills, 2 blocks, 3 digs; Zak Swetye 6 kills, 7 service points, 5 digs; Sean Mckay 8 service points, 5 kills, 3 blocks, 5 digs; Tyler Herget 37 assists, 2 kills, 1 block, 6 digs; Spencer Jarecke 10 service points, 8 digs.