Staples High received a stronger challenge than it expected from Fairfield co-op early in Monday's boys volleyball match.
But, after pulling away for a 28-26 win in the first game, the Wreckers took control for good.
The Wreckers cruised to a 25-13 win in the second game, before closing it out 25-21 in the third for their third straight 3-0 victory.
"We were really surprised the first game," said Staples outside hitter Jonathan Denowitz, who recorded 17 kills, 12 digs and a block in the win. "We didn't expect Fairfield to be that good, and they were a really great team. We came out kind of on our heels in the first game.
"The second game we realized what we had to do -- we picked it up."
Staples (3-1) jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first game, but Fairfield stormed right back to take an 8-7 lead. The co-op team held late leads of 20-19, 21-20, 24-21 and 26-25, but Staples responded. The Wreckers went back ahead 27-26 before closing the game out on an unforced error.
"In game one we truly came out with nothing to lose," Fairfield coach Garrett Covino said. "All three games we just played really phenomenal defense."
"It was a battle today. Fairfield played real well," Staples coach Jon Shepro said. "Their defense was awesome -- the best we've seen all season so far. They passed the ball, had good hits, rattled us a little bit."
The Wreckers jumped ahead in each of the last two games, taking leads of 11-4 in the second game and 10-7 in the third.
"I think we started making some adjustments to their defense -- mixing up a little bit more, hitting to different spots," Shepro said.
In the second game, Fairfield (2-1) cut Staples' lead to 16-10, but the Wreckers recorded eight of the next nine points. The Wreckers opened their largest lead of the match (13 points) at 24-11.
"Game two we got tired," Covino said. "We used so much energy and so much intensity in game one that we started making a couple mental errors."
Setter Harry Hlawitschka finished the match with 49 assists and seven digs for Staples. Lucas Grevers had eight kills and two blocks.
Fairfield led 17-16 in the third game, but Staples responded with four straight points to take control. The Wreckers went ahead 24-21 before Denowitz closed out the match with a kill.
"It's always great to get the last kill," Denowitz said.
The Wreckers have not lost a game since falling to Southington 3-1 in their opener on April 5. They won 3-0 against both Trumbull on April 10 and Darien on April 12.
"Southington was tough. It really just made us come out harder," Denowitz said. "We were really pumped for this game."
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STAPLES 3, FAIRFIELD 0
FAIRFIELD 26 13 21 -- 0
STAPLES 28 25 25 -- 3
Records: Fairfield 2-1; Staples 3-1.
Highlights: F -- Chris Sanfilippo had 12 service points and 12 digs. Emilio Renzulli had 16 kills, 6 service points and five digs. Eric Thompson had nine digs, three kills and two service points. S -- Harry Hlawitschka had 49 assists and seven digs. Jonathan Denowitz had 17 kills, 12 digs and one block. Lucas Grevers had eight kills and two blocks.