Lady Wreckers win at Trumbull
Call it the quiet before a cluster of storms. The Staples girls volleyball team finds itself in a string of games sandwiched between a monster contest against Darien on Sept. 29 and a group of matches later in the month -- beginning at St. Joseph on Oct. 15 -- that may ultimately help decide the final standings in the FCIAC.
"My concern following the Darien game, which I think we've seen a little bit of, we got so up for the Darien game that I think we've lost of our luster in some of the other games," Staples coach Jon Shepro said following his team's match at Trumbull on Monday night.
As the match showed, the quiet can be a dangerous place to be. Staples did get the victory, but only after surrendering the first game to the Lady Eagles (21-25, 25-14, 25-20, 25-16).
"We pulled together really at the end," junior middle hitter Augustine Gradoux-Matt said. "We all came up as a team and we got our energy up."
Gradoux-Matt finished with a season-high 10 kills on 18 attempts and eight blocks, including three straight blocks during a pivotal 8-0 run in the second game.
"Today she got the ball in the play," Shepro said of Gradoux-Matt's play. "She didn't try to do too much. She's still getting her timing down, but she's taking what [opponents] give her. The set goes up and she's tipping it down and we run the quick set and she's tipping it down... She's getting points. You don't have to hit the floor to get a point. They all count the same and it's nice that Augie is realizing that you can get points any way."
Shepro was also impressed with performance of senior captain defensive specialist Dana Rappaport, who had 19 service points with four aces to go along with six digs.
"Her back row play was great tonight," Shepro said of Rappaport. "When the rest of the girls weren't passing so wonderfully, she really stepped up and made some great passes on some tough serves."
Staples (7-1)--the 3-0 loss coming at home against Darien--had a 9-3 lead in the first game before Trumbull (1-8) used those hard serves to its advantage to roar back by outscoring its guest 15-1 at one point.
"We were really rocky in the beginning," said Staples senior captain outside hitter Alex Masiello. "We had to become more serious toward the next three games. We were a little bummed losing the first game, but we can't come in thinking that we're going to win it 3-0. We need to work at it."
Masiello finished with nine kills on 18 attempts. She also had 14 service points, eight digs and seven aces. As evidenced by the play by Gradoux-Matt, Rappaport and others, though, the Lady Wreckers proved they have many more weapons than Masiello and her reputation for being one of the hardest hitters in the state.
"It's clearly Alex's team and the offense will run through Alex, but that just allows us to open it up for everybody else," Shepro said.
"When [teams] keeping thinking the ball is going to go outside to Alex then we can put it in the middle or... we can set it to the weak side."
Junior setter Anna Link and junior outside hitter Mackenzie Roof both had a team-high 20 service points for Staples. Link also had five kills, four aces, two blocks and two digs. Roof had seven digs, four kills and an ace as well.
Staples will play host to Trinity Catholic at 4 p.m. today.