This spring, the Staples boys volleyball team will look a lot different than it did when it finished the 2013 season by capturing FCIAC and Class L championships.
That doesn't mean expectations are any lower for the Wreckers, owners of a league-most 11 FCIAC titles.
"Every year for the Staples volleyball team, that's the absolute goal," Wreckers coach Jon Shepro said. "If they don't win it every year, they've been close every year. The kids have a goal; they see what's going on."
Staples graduated five valuable contributors: Jonathan Denowitz, Nicolas Cohen, Ryan Petersen, Lucas Carstens and Harrison Hlawitschka. The Wreckers dropped their season-opener at Southington last year, then reeled off 21 straight to sweep the postseason titles.
Shepro is still working on the combinations that will yield a similar outcome this season.
"It's going to take a lot of time," Shepro said. "I think that it's a long process; last year's team took the whole season and peaked at the right time. My goal every year is to get better each game."
The Wreckers will be led by Wentworth-bound Lucas Grevers, a 6-foot-6 senior with a polished all-around game.
"Lucas works so hard in the offseason; he plays so much volleyball," Shepro said. "He loves the sport and he's probably our most skilled player. He's incredible defender at the net; he hits the ball harder than literally anyone I've ever seen. He brings so much to the team as far as his skills are concerned."
Grevers and middle hitter Todd Goldstein will captain Staples.
The Wreckers' winning streak will be in serious jeopardy early in the season. The Wreckers visit Ridgefield (April 11) in their opener then travel to Greenwich April 14.
"We'll see where we stand against other teams, and we'll see how it goes against Ridgefield," Shepro said. "It's early in the season so there's room to improve; it's a barometer of what you have to work on."
Staples, along with Ridgefield, will also travel to Rhode Island April 12 to participate in an invitational tournament that will feature the best teams in New England.
"It will be awesome to spend some time together on the bus and a tournament that's going to be highly competitive," Shepro said. "The more time a team gets to spend together in envinornments other than school, I think it's going to help us."