By Scott Ericson

scott.ericson@scni.com

Greenwich volleyball coach Steve Lapham knew his team would have a target on its back and get every team's best effort after the run of success the team has had in recent years.

Staples became the first team this season to hit the bull's eye, coming in to the Cardinals gym and playing a strong all-around game before winning in straight sets -- 25-19, 25-20 and 25-18.

"We knew it was a big game and that Greenwich is a good team," Staples coach Jon Shepro said. "They are always in the hunt and I can't remember the last time we beat them, no less beat them they way we just beat them. The girls are really psyched about it."

The Wreckers came out on fire and after the score was tied 7-7, began to open up a lead they would not relinquish.

The front line of Staples, led by Josephine Grever and Anna Link created problems for the Cardinals all day with their size and spot on setting.

"We are tall and we are very athletic," Shepro said. "Having two girls above six feet and then the outside hitters are very smart. Anna Link can dump that ball in the corner and she can swing real hard and Mackenzie Roof is just a gamer."

After a rough first set the Cardinals (1-1) settled down and made a game of it by dealing well with the Wrecker serve and passing to the setters with solid consistency.

"This was one of our best passing games, ever," Greenwich co-captain Chloe Griffasi said. "They had a stronger team in the front of the court and we had a stronger team with defense and we got a little rattled, but I think we needed to lose this one to feel it and take it in and go even harder in the next game."

The defense was strong for the Cardinals as they hit the floor for some tough digs to help keep them in the game and fight off the attack from the Wreckers.

"Everything was to our setter really nice today," Greenwich coach Steve Lapham said. "We had all the opportunities in the world to put the ball away and I think their big middles intimidated us a bit and they got some blocks and we tried to go soft, but we gave them too many opportunities to easy free balls."

Down 2-0, the Cardinals came out in the third set and looked as though they may make a game of it after all, opening up a 14-7 lead before the Wreckers took a timeout to slow the Cardinals momentum.

Mirei Kato hit the deck and came up with an improbable dig to put help put Greenwich up 15-8.

Kato finished with 5 kills for the game while Xanthi Kastigiannis (6 service points, 5 digs), Ebba Marks (9 kills) and Griffassi (8 digs) all played well for the Cardinals in the losing effort.

With her team down, Danielle Kosiniski picked up the serve for the Wreckers and rattled off six straight points to get Staples within one at 15-14.

Greenwich opened up an 18-17 lead but Grevers took over from there, serving out the match with eight straight points to give the Wreckers the victory.