Staples volleyball edges Trumbull in 5 sets
WESTPORT — A defeat in five sets to FCIAC favorite Darien April 25 didn’t cause the Staples volleyball team to get down on themselves. Instead, it’s galvanized the Wreckers and helped them succeed in similar circumstances.
A third straight win since that loss took place Wednesday as Staples rallied to beat Trumbull 3-2 (23-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-14, 15-2) in another five-set thriller to move to 9-3 this season. Playing with confidence after a 3-2 win over Ridgefield this week, the Wreckers are out to prove they will be in the hunt for a title and fended off a tough Eagles team in the process.
“We were coming in confident after the Ridgefield win, and we had beat (Trumbull 3-1) early in the season,” said Staples senior Jared Himmel. “We were not really ready to play early; Trumbull was ready to play and they played great. (The first game) was a huge wake-up call.”
A wild back-and-forth game came down to a sprint to 15 points, and the teams were deadlocked at 8-8 before the hosts inched away. The advantage was 11-10 before an errant Trumbull serve and several kills set the stage for Himmel, who slammed home a kill to end the game.
“My boys dug deep to fight back,” Staples coach Dan Cho said. “I’m glad this happened because it’s preparing us for down the road. Our serve-receive woke up our offense.”
Himmel, who produced 23 kills, was the center of the Wreckers’ offense with the game on the line. Constantly feeding him when on the outside, Himmel had no other choice but to deliver for Staples.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking, in my sophomore or junior year I wasn’t that guy,” Himmel said. “I’ve always had role models to look up to … I’m ready to take on the challenge and we have a great team; we’re playing well together.”
It took a team effort to rally from the hole against the Eagles.
Staples trailed 2-1 before it produced its best set of the match. The Wreckers scored the first eight points in Game 4 and leapt out to a 15-5 advantage before a brief Trumbull rally made it 15-10. The Wreckers responded with five straight points of their own to cruise to the win, setting up the fifth game.
“I think the effort was there,” said Trumbull coach Tamara DeBerry. “I thought the stars were aligned for us to win … we were playing well, we just couldn’t get it done. We played from behind a lot when we needed to play from ahead or stay with them.”
Trumbull utilized some impressive offense to jump out to a 2-1 lead. John Brindisi (19), Jeremiah Carabello (16) and Jimmy Donahue (16) combined for 51 kills in the match and produced several points to rally from deficits in the first and third games to prevail.
The Eagles, who have dropped five of their last six games, are in the midst of a stretch against several of the top teams in the state. They’ve fallen in five sets to Fairfield, Southington and Darien during the stretch, signaling Trumbull isn’t far away from contention.
“It gives me hope,” DeBerry said. “We’re not usually a team that goes five games with that caliber of a team. The fact that we’re that close makes me think we’re going to be good when it really counts.”
STAPLES 3, TRUMBULL 2
TRUMBULL 25 20 25 14 12--2
STAPLES 23 25 22 25 15--3
Records: Trumbull 7-7, Staples 9-3. Highlights: T—John Brindisi had 19 kills and 11 service points. Jeremiah Caraballo had 16 kills and 16 digs. Jimmy Donahue had 14 kills and three blocks. Casey Coughlin had eight kills and five blocks. S—Jared Himmel had 23 kills. Ryan Angerthal had 11 kills and nine digs. Kenny Brill had 43 assists and eight digs. Daniel Brill had 10 kills and two digs.