Doug Delivers: Wreckers turn expected showdown into a clinic
There's plenty of superlatives you can use to describe the Staples boys volleyball team's 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-17) sweep of perennial power Ridgefield on Monday.
Call it what you wish, but the performance that the Wreckers put on against the previously unbeaten Tigers was a clinic.
Outside of a brief stretch during the second game when Ridgefield held leads of 9-5 and 10-6, Staples was never in trouble. The Wreckers tied it up 11-11 in that second game, eventually pushing their lead to as many as five points, 17-12. When the Tigers knotted it up again at 21-21, three unforced errors on the next five possessions catapulted the Wreckers to a 25-21 win.
In game three, the
In game three, the Tigers recorded the first point before the Wreckers took over. Dominating at the net, the Wreckers pushed their lead to 20-12, and for a second straight game closed it out 25-17.
What was supposed to be a battle between two perennial powers -- both with unbeaten FCIAC records entering play -- turned into a display of dominance. The Wreckers, 13-1 entering the day (13-0 FCIAC), notched their 13th sweep of the season.
"I don't know if I'm surprised it went in three, but I'm happy it did," Staples coach Jon Shepro said. "We came in here and we did what we were supposed to. Tonight we were the better team."
Offensively, defensively, Staples never allowed Ridgefield to find a rhythm. In game one, the Tigers scored five straight points once. Over the final two games, the Tigers failed to string together more than three points in succession.
The Wreckers recorded six blocks, three of which came from senior Lucas Grevers.
"Our net play today was some of the best blocking we've had all season," Shepro said. "We had some good blocks on the outside. And when we didn't complete the block, at least we put a hand on it, so we put it in their minds that we're there."
For a team that came into play with just one blemish on the season -- a 3-1 loss to Southington back on April 5 -- Staples made a statement. Shepro described it as such afterward.
"I think that everybody in the state is going to look at who wins this game tomorrow in the paper, and they'll see we won in three," he said. "They'll know Staples is here and ready for the FCIAC and state tournament."
Harry Hlawitschka, who paced Staples' attack with a match-high 32 assists, talked about how the Wreckers were out to prove just how dangerous they truly are. In many respects, they showed it.
"In my honest opinion, I think that there's not many other teams that can beat us, if any," the senior setter said.
The Wreckers did nothing to dissuade that opinion.
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