Darien wrestles FCIAC boys volleyball title back from Staples
FAIRFIELD — At the Darien boys volleyball program, the standard is about championships.
In 2018, the Blue Wave watched Staples roll through a perfect 26-0 season to capture FCIAC and Class L state titles.
So when No. 1 seed Darien and No. 2 Staples met Friday night for the 2019 FCIAC championship, you knew the battle would be special.
The intensity was incredible. The atmosphere was electric. And Darien High went home with the 2019 FCIAC Boys Volleyball Championship plaque thanks to a 23-25, 25-23, 26-24, 25-20 triumph at Ludlowe.
“It feels amazing to win this title. To work so hard and get to this moment is exhiliarating,” said Darien senior co-captain Piers Roofthooft. “Staples was so tough. It was such a well-played match. But the key for us was we did it together.”
After Staples (18-3) won Game 1, Darien evened things with a 25-23 victory in Game 2.
The opportunity was there for Staples in Game 3 as the Wreckers fought to a 23-22 edge.
But Darien had Tyler Herget on its side.
At 25-24 the ball deflected off the ceiling. But Herget calmly stayed with it and fed a perfect set to Roofthooft for the game-winning kill and a 2-1 edge.
In Game 4, Staples led 7-3, 12-8 and 17-15. But Darien wasn’t going to let this title slip away.
Herget, Roofthooft, Jack Roberson, setter Jackson Leone, Nik Tinaj and libero John Barsanti scored five of the last six points for 25-20 and a deserving FCIAC crown.
“We just stuck with it. It’s about the trust we have in each other. We realized why we play volleyball,” Herget said. “We welcome competition. We welcome big moments. On paper, we were the No. 1 seed and we proved to ourselves we could play our best for a title.”
Herget (22 kills, 10 aces) was voted Finals MVP. Roofthooft collected 16 kills. Jack Roberson was a force at net.
Darien (21-1) has won 21 straight heading into next week’s Class L state tournament.
Staples, to its credit, fought to the end. The Wreckers were light years ahead of the squad that was swept 3-0 by Darien mid-season.
“Our level was so much better. I’m so proud how far we’ve come,” said Staples senior captain Logan Carstens. “We were in it the whiole time. But Darien played such a great game.”
“Darien showed why they are a No. 1 seed. The consistency they played with all year was special,” Staples coach John Sedlock said. “We executed our game plan. But Darien won the key points. We were ready. I’m so proud of my guys. It just wasn’t enough.”
FCIAC CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
DARIEN 3, STAPLES 1
STAPLES 25 23 24 20—1
DARIEN 23 25 26 25—3
Records: Staples 18-3 overall; Darien 21-1 overall.
Highlights: D—Tyler Herget 10 aces, 22 kills. Piers Roofthooft 16 kills. Herget named Finals MVP.