The Staples girls volleyball team has made the playoffs for nine straight years and expects to make it 10 straight years. Staples Coach Jon Shepro makes his debut as head coach of this team (he coached Trumbull boys volleyball in the past and is the current Staples boys skiing coach) and senior captains Alex Masiello, Lucy Stanely and Dana Rappaport have high expectations for the team.

The Lady Wreckers hope to surpass last year's 18-5 overall record, 15-3 in the regular season, and go further in the FCIAC and Class LL tournaments.

This will be challenging because Staples lost eight seniors to graduation. The Lady Wreckers will especially miss middle hitter Maddie Kalb, who is playing for North Texas State University, setter Zana Hrvacic and middle hitter Jenny Johnston.

However, Staples will be boosted by the return of Masiello at outside hitter, Stanley at setter and Rappaport at libero. Junior middle hitter Josephine Grevers and Anna Link, a setter and outside hitter, are also expected to contribute. They are confident and competent enough to carry the team to victory.

The team will be made up of five seniors, eight juniors, and three sophomores, all of whom have been training extremely hard and building unity and chemistry.

"We have to get closer as a team to the point where we know where each of us are on the floor. We have to move like one unit -- that type of preparation takes time. We have been working very hard at practice and the girls have really responded to my personality and vision for the team. We know we have work to do but so far, we have been willing to do what is necessary to find success," Shepro said.

Staples is relatively young, with less seniors than usual, thus choosing a starting lineup will be a challenge.

"We have no set positions right now, other than some of the seniors, and if the younger girls keep playing the way they are, there is no doubt in my mind that Shepro will have a hard time deciding a starting line up," said Stanley. Additionally, the older girls have helped the younger ones in many ways.

"The seven returning varsity players help the younger girls a lot with regards to learning the pace of the game," Stanley said.

A winning season isn't the goal for the Lady Wreckers. They want to go further than the FCIAC and Class LL semifinals, which was their fate last year.

"We want to have great team chemistry so we can make it to the finals of both the FCIAC and State tournaments," said Rappaport.

With practice and unity, the season and post season look hopeful.

"Our goals this year are to make it farther than we did last year and to make Staples volleyball known in Connecticut as the best and hardest-working," said Masiello.