Wrecker spikers tame Ridgefield
Updated 1:21 am, Friday, May 13, 2011
The Staples boys volleyball team came from behind in the fourth game and, in doing so, denied any chance of a match comeback by visiting Ridgefield in a hard-fought 3-1 (25-13, 25-17, 22-25, 27-25) win on Wednesday.
The Wreckers, after pushing the Tigers to the brink, almost saw their FCIAC counterparts draw even and force a decisive fifth game. In fact, in the fourth game, Ridgefield built a seemingly commanding 19-11 lead before the Wreckers battled back in clash between teams with just two losses coming into the meeting.
"It's a scary feeling there, down 19-11 in the fourth game," Staples Coach Jon Shepro said. "It was quite a comeback."
A.J. Green and Drew Appleman combined for a block at the net and the ball went the other way for a Staples point to get the Wreckers within four at 20-16. Jonah Aelyon followed with a service point and an errant Ridgefield hit on the ensuing rally made it 20-18. Ridgefield eventually built a 23-19 lead before the Wreckers reeled off five unanswered points. Andreas Bub had back-to-back kills and an errant hit by Ridgefield pulled Staples to within a point, prompting a Ridgefield timeout. An Appleman kill evened the score and Aelyon followed with one of his own for a 24-23 Staples lead.
The Tigers didn't go down quietly, tying Staples before falling behind only to again knot the score. With the game deadlocked at 25, Bub's hit was mishandled by the Tigers for a 26-25 Staples edge, and Aelyon ended it with a booming hit -- one of his team-high 20 kills.
Aeylon also had 17 service points, including three aces, and came up with five digs to earn the game ball. Appleman compiled 18 kills, Steven Denowitz logged 17 service points and four digs and Ryan Winter and Daniel Fishman both had 13 service points. Winter had eight digs and Fishman added three.
The Wreckers believed they let the Tigers back into the match, in part, because of several miscues. Errant hits and some miscommunication accounted for some of Ridgefield's scoring during the visiting team's third and fourth game runs of success.
Shepro called a few timeouts late in the match to try to get his team back on track every time it seemed the match might be on the verge of slipping away. "We just talked about the focus of every single point and forgetting about the mistakes," he said.
"We felt out energy was coming down so we wanted to pick it up and cut down on our mistakes," Aelyon added.
"We lost a lot of focus, I could tell, after the second game," Denowitz said. "The key to coming back was getting the momentum back on our side." Denowitz added that the team's ability to deflect hits at the net and slow the ball down enabled the Wreckers to set the ball up for kills. The team's down-the-stretch defense led to its match put-away offense.
Aelyon and Denowitz came up with key late-match service points, and everyone on the floor came up with a clutch deflection or hit to either keep the ball alive or earn points. "We came up with some big plays there," Shepro said of his team's strong finish.
Aelyon said the Wreckers look forward to facing the Tigers every year since it's always a close match between two of the better conference teams. As nerve-wracking as the match was at times, Shepro points out that it's rewarding to pull out close match. "That's why you play these games. It's not supposed to be easy -- it's supposed to be hard," he said.