Lady Wrecker spikers sweep Danbury
The Staples girls volleyball team showed toughness when it got tight Monday in a 3-0 (25-23, 29-27, 25-14) home victory over Danbury.
Staples won the first two games by gutting them out, overcoming three game-points in the second game in raising its record to 5-0. Danbury dropped to 3-3. Being used to these close games gave the Lady Wreckers the extra push, especially in the second game where they needed it the most.
"We've been in situations like this all year where we were able to pull through," Staples coach Jon Shepro said. "We made some nice plays when it mattered."
Both teams had height and the Lady Wreckers were strong with two 6-footers in the middle, Joosje Grevers and Augustine Gradoux-Matt.
"We did a good job with our middle hitters, Augie and Joosje played good games and had a bunch of kills at the right time."
Grevers (12 kills, seven digs, one block, four aces) was especially dominant in the front row and pounded home some kills.
"It's all about repetition," Grevers said. "Shepro does a good job with drills and works us hard in practice. Knowing the basics is important. I try not to do too much and I try to give a hard ball that they have trouble hitting it."
Gradoux-Matt (four kills) delivered her hits at the right time. Having Dani Kosinski setting up both middle hitters also made a difference. Kosinski (27 assists, two digs, one kill) placed the ball perfectly, which made it easier for them to swat it.
"Our defense today was better than it had been," Kosinski said. "They buckled down and their passes were just right for me give tight balls to Joosje and Augie."
The first two games were back and forth affairs. Danbury's lead never exceeded four points and Staples' advantage maxed out at three in the first game. Lady Hatter senior middle hitter Allison Murphy's service ace gave her team a 12-8 lead and Gradoux-Matt's service ace gave the Lady Wreckers an 18-15 advantage.
Danbury setter Erica Carboni (20 assists, three kills, two digs) also deftly set up their teammates. The defenses for both squads were also on. Lady hatter libero Tattianny Andrade (14 digs) and sophomore Katie Fellmeth (seven kills, 13 digs), hit the floor well and made some nice digs to rob the Lady Wreckers.
Conversely, Staples played well defensively too. Grevers, Anna Link (four kills, five digs, five service aces, one block), Kenzie Roof (three kills, four digs) and Lily Rappaport (three digs, one service ace) made many defensive plays for the Lady Wreckers and constantly robbed Danbury's hitters.
Staples inched out to a 23-21 lead in the first game before the Lady Hatters tied it 23-23 on kills by Fellmeth and senior Anairis Rodriguez. A Danbury error gave the Lady Wreckers the lead and Link closed out the game with a service ace.
Link served five straight points, three aces, to give Staples a 12-8 lead in the second game. Grevers' kill from Kosinski maintained the four-point lead at 17-13.
"I always tell myself whenever I serve that the one thing I control is my serve," Link said. "They passed well and I tried to serve in between two passers so I could confuse them."
However, senior Mary Siglio answered with a kill to force a sideout and classmate Jessica Goncalves served four straight points for Danbury.
Gradoux-Matt's kill from Kosinski stopped the run and Rappaport served two points to give the Lady Wreckers a 20-18 lead.
Siglio served three points to give the Lady Hatters a 22-20 lead and a Staples error on Rodriguez' serve gave Danbury a 24-21 lead.
Grevers prevented the Lady Hatters from clinching the game with a diving dig in the back row which led to a Danbury error.
"I've been training hard the last couple of years so I could play the whole game and not just be a hitter," Grevers said. "All the training and knowing it helps the team, helps me."
Junior Katie Platt then served three points for the Lady Wreckers to give them a 25-24 lead with Grevers delivering the kill that tied it, 24-24.
Fellmuth then staved off game-point with a kill and Murphy had two kills to stave off two more game points. However, Grevers' kill made it 28-27 and she then closed out the game with a service ace.
"The second game was close and it was time to bear down and implement what you learned and go for it," Grevers said.
Link said, "It's a perfect example of a team effort. We came through and worked together."