GHS Volleyball aims for another strong spring
Published 3:26 pm, Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Surpassing, or even duplicating, a historic season will be anything but easy for the Greenwich High School boys volleyball team this spring.
Yet these Cardinals, who have steadily improved their win total each season, are determined to keep trending upward.
Greenwich, which registered its best season in its young program's history a year ago, finishing the regular season at 13-3, has its sights set on advancing deeper into the postseason.
"We had more wins last season than any other year in our program's history, made it to the FCIAC semifinals and hosted a second round game in the state tournament for the first time -- it was a great season," Cardinals senior co-captain Aidan Rafferty said. "But we feel we can surpass that this year if we get all of our fundamentals down and all of our movements down. We know we have the ability to aim for, and shoot to do better this year."
Displaying chemistry on the court throughout the season, the Cardinals emerged as one of the teams to beat in the FCIAC, and state, last year.
"We did it last season with a great bunch of hard-working kids," GHS coach Peter Georgiou said. "We hope we can put it together, show the same teamwork and get there this year."
Rafferty and fellow senior co-captain Packy Hanrahan have the task of trying to get the first-year players acclimated to playing on the varsity level. Rafferty, an outside hitter, is beginning his third year on the varsity squad.
"I remember looking up to the big guys on the team as a sophomore and learning from them," Rafferty said. "To be able to step up as a senior and be in one of the captain's role has been incredible so far."
Though the roster is quite a bit different from last season, the Cards have picked up where they left off a year ago, winning their first two matches of the season in convincing fashion. Greenwich improved to 2-0 Monday, defeating visiting Harding, 3-0.
Rafferty recorded seven kills and three aces, Hanrahan, a setter, had 15 assists and four aces and Ethan Jaffe had four aces and one block for GHS, which won the match by game scores of 25-15, 25-9, 26-24.
"There were some good things that came out of today's match and some concerning things as well," Georgiou said. "It was a win though and we'll take it. We'll learn from our mistakes and come out crisper next time."
Like a point guard in basketball running the offense, Hanrahan helped direct the Cardinals' attack Monday from his setter position. Leading just 14-13 in the first game Greenwich, won 11 of the next 13 points to take a 1-0 lead.
"I'm always trying to set up the guy who is in the best position to make a play," Hanrahan said. "Even though the team is different this year we have set the bar high. We are going to try to make FCIACs like we did last year and we really want to make it further than we did last season."
AT THE HELM: Georgiou is beginning his fifth season as coach of the Cardinals. Since taking over the program, Greenwich has progressed into one of the top teams in the FCIAC and last season, earned a No. 4 ranking in the Class L Tournament.
WHO'S GONE?: Outside hitter Dan Chudy, middle hitter John Beneville and libero Jake Oe were among the key players who graduated from last season's successful squad.
WHO'S BACK?: Rafferty brings power to his outside hitter position and his passing skills are also impressive. Hanrahan has good instincts on the court and has a knack for setting the right players up. Georgiou likes what he sees from senior middle hitter Zak Steiner and senior Oliver More. Senior Dexter Frisch is nursing an injured ankle, but should be back soon give the team depth in the middle.
WATCH OUT FOR: Freshman Daizo Mori made the starting lineup as a freshman and Davis Lee, also a freshman is seeing a lot of time. Both players seem as though they are going to make a positive impact in their first season.
STRENGTHS: "This team works well together in practice," Georgiou said. "They really push each other to improve in each practice. Our outside hitting looks very good right now."
WEAKNESSES: The Cardinals graduated some firepower from last year's team. The roster includes some upperclassmen new to the sport and several underclassmen adjusting to life at the varsity level.
SHOWDOWNS: St. Joseph (away, April 15), Trumbull (away, April 17), Fairfield Ludlowe/Warde (home, April 22), Darien (away, April 24), Staples (home, April 29), New Canaan (home, May 8), Staples (away, May 15).