The Fairfield Ludlowe girls volleyball team had its share of offensive fireworks during the regular season.

But it was a defensive performance that propelled the Falcons to a 25-20, 25-11, 21-25, 25-14 win over Staples in the quarterfinal round of the FCIAC tournament on Tuesday at Ludlowe.

Four Ludlowe players had 10 or more digs, and kept Staples' high-powered offense in check.

"They were digging up everything we hit at them," Staples head coach Jonathan Shepro said. "Every point that was going three or four volleys, they were winning. Their hustle was great, their defense was great we couldn't find many holes."

Maddie McCaffrey led the Ludlowe defense with 12 digs. Dillon Casey, Brandi Segala and Emily Nelson each had 10 digs.

Ludlowe head coach Chris Skelton agreed that his team's defensive effort is what sent it to the semifinals, where they played Greenwich last night.

"The hardest part of this game is playing defense and they did a great job tonight," Skelton said. "We scrapped for every ball. There weren't many balls that dropped where at least one girl was laying on the ground fighting for the ball."

Both teams played well in the first game, but Ludowe seemed to go on a tear in Game 2. But the Wreckers mounted a comeback in the third game and put itself back in the match.

Trailing 21-20, Mackenzie Roof rallied Staples back with five straight service points to force a fourth game.

But the Wreckers wore down, and Ludlowe breezed to an easy fourth-game victory.

"I think we got frustrated and tired, and our legs didn't work in the fourth game," Shepro said.

McCaffrey credited the Game 3 collapse to a lack of communication. But the Falcons began talking to each other again in the fourth game, and that was the reason Ludlowe advanced.

"In the third game we weren't talking to each other on the court and we didn't know where everyone was," McCaffrey said. "Once the ball was in the air (in the fourth game) we didn't let it drop. Someone was there to pick it up."

McCaffrey also had three blocks, and paced the Ludlowe offense, with 18 kills in 36 attempts.

Shepro thought McCaffrey had an even higher kill percentage.

"Maddie was tremendous," Shepro said. "The number of kills she gets vs. the number of attempts has got to be 75%. We couldn't block her, we couldn't hit her. And when she's not hitting, their outside hitters pick her up."

Segala also had a big night on offense for Ludlowe with 32 assists, two blocks, four aces and eight service points. Nelson added 10 digs and seven service points, Casey had 16 service points, four aces and eight kills and Ashley Curtis had seven service points and four aces..

For Staples, Alex Masiello had seven kills and 14 digs, and Anna Link had 13 digs. Jos Grevers had five kills and Dana Rappaport had five digs.