Lady Wrecker spikers clinch fourth seed for FCIACs
In a game that Staples girls volleyball coach Bruce Betts called "a very important game to win," the Staples girls volleyball team took control from the start and won 3-1 (25-19, 25-19, 23-25, 25-13) at Westhill on Friday. Staples finished the regular season at 15-3 and wrapped up the fourth seed in the FCIAC playoffs, earning it a home game. The Lady Wreckers hosted fifth-seeded Ridgefield yesterday after press time and if they won, they will play against top-seeded Darien tomorrow in the FCIAC semifinals at Fairfield Ludlowe.
The first three games started the same way with the Vikings jumping out to early leads. In game one, it was 4-0 before a couple of great serves by senior Zana Hrvacic put Staples on the board. Strong all around play by senior Maddie Kalb and a nice touch score by senior captain Jenny Johnston tied the game at 8-8 and the Lady Wreckers were on their way. Staples communicated well and it showed in its sets and passes. A strong spike by Kalb put the Lady Wreckers in front and they ran out a nice string of four points. Senior Paulina Tziolis' bullet serves ran out game one with the final score 25-19.
Game two went much the same way with the Lady Wreckers' defensive talents and their aggressive hits carrying the game. Tied at 5-5, Staples went ahead on a great block by senior captain Taylor Ross and a powerful spike by Johnston. Westhill fought back and tied it 11-11.
Staples put up another flurry of points capped off by Tziolos getting tall and stuffing a block back into the Viking players. After the longest and most exciting point in the match, Staples went up 17-12 and then on to win 25-19 capped off by great play by Johnston and Kalb.
In game three, a combination of the Lady Wreckers losing focus and Westhill picking up its game, the Vikings got back in it early. Westhill went up 6-2 and then increased the score to 13-8 by finding some holes in the Staples defense. Betts called a timeout with Westhill leading 19-10 and gave his team a good chat on the sideline. The talk helped in that it brought Staples back to 21-18 and then to 24-23, before Westhill prevailed 25-23.
Unlike the first three games, Staples jumped out ahead in game four 5-0 and then to 7-1. Senior Suvi Puripattarapan served strong crisp serves that the Vikings couldn't return and senior captain Eleni Tsilfides was digging out every hard shot that came from the Westhill side. The only Westhill charge got it to 19-12 and Staples closed out the match at 25-13.
Puripattarapan credited the Staples success to "having played together for a long time and knowing how each other moves around the court."
Johnston felt that the Lady Wreckers have been good at "keeping their focus" and being able to come from behind when needed.
Betts was very pleased with his team saying "they've really come together in the last part of the season." This bodes well for Staples in the upcoming FCIAC and Class LL playoffs.