Following a loss to Staples High in the first game on Monday, the Greenwich boys volleyball team entered the match's second frame with renewed focus and energy.
The Cardinals were able to eventually draw even with a 25-21 win, putting momentum firmly on their side, but the Wreckers quickly turned the tables back in their favor.
The Wreckers dealt Greenwich back-to-back 25-16 losses in the third and fourth games to net a 3-1 victory on the road.
The loss -- only the Cardinals' second on the season -- came down to their approach, according to coach Pete Georgiou.
"We did a lot of things well in that second game and really proved to ourselves that we could hang with them," said Georgiou, whose team fell to 7-2. "Because the third game wasn't an elimination game, I think we didn't have the intensity we needed and essentially rested on our laurels. We needed to go back to basics and didn't do that in the final two games."
After the first game in which Staples led nearly start to finish, pulling away 25-17, Greenwich's offense was revitalized by senior Aidan Rafferty, who led the team with nine kills on the afternoon.
The mistakes for the Cardinals, however, were too much to overcome late.
"In that second game our energy was way up, but in the third and fourth game we started to make far too many mental mistakes," Rafferty said. "Our success as a team really comes down to executing the fundamentals and that is something that we'll need to stress in practice as we move forward."
While the Cardinals had their difficulties getting back to basics, the Wreckers were clicking on all cylinders as they scored six unanswered points in the third game. They led by as many as ten points in the fourth, eventually winning both games 25-16.
The Wreckers' relentless attack at the net was led by junior Lucas Grevers, who in addition to his game-high 12 kills also posted 16 service points and two blocks. Senior Harry Hlawitschka led all players with 37 assists.
The Wreckers improved to 8-1, including 8-0 in the FCIAC.
"Greenwich is a solid team and early on I thought they really outplayed us at the net," coach Jon Shepro said. "We opened up the third and fourth games with a quick-set approach and that really seemed to turn the match in our favor. It's great to be undefeated in the FCIAC, but we know there is a lot of work to still be done and we're just trying to get better every day."
For a Greenwich team that's made up of young and untested players, this season has been a learning one. But according to senior Packy Hanrahan (23 assists), the team has certainly improved with time.
"At the beginning of the season we were making too many self-inflicted mistakes, but as the season has gone on you can see the (improvement) in the entire team," Hanrahan said. "Our hope is that we continue to get better and reach the peak of our game just as we enter the postseason."
Tom Forde is a freelance writer
STAPLES 3, GREENWICH 1
STAPLES 25 21 25 25 -- 3
GREENWICH 17 25 16 16 -- 1
Records: Staples 8-1; Greenwich 7-2.
Highlights: S -- Lucas Grevers had 12 kills, two blocks and two digs. Ryan Peterson had six kills and 11 digs. Harry Hlawitschka had 37 assists and four digs. G -- Packy Hanrahan had 23 assists.