Staples girls volleyball turns aside Stamford 3-0
WESTPORT -- Staples head coach Jon Shepro admitted that his team needed an emotional lift after suffering a surprising loss to Trumbull five days ago.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Wreckers got what they were looking for.
Spurred on by some strong finishing at the net, the Wreckers put together a complete performance against a fellow FCIAC girls volleyball contender, Stamford, and rolled to a 3-0 victory (25-20, 25-21, 26-24).
"A big match for us," Shepro said. "We came off a tough loss against Trumbull (3-2) last Friday and I think our confidence was down. We needed this game to pick us back up."
Staples (11-3) squandered an early 5-0 lead in the third game but regained control late with the help junior Amelia Brackett. The Wreckers' outside hitter had kills to tie it 18-18 and 20-20, and closed out the match with a kill.
"Stamford's a great team. They're one of the top teams in the league and we knew they were going to come right back into it," Shepro said. "You knew they were going to fight for their lives in that third game. I'm just proud of the way the girls fought back and had a couple big kills."
Stamford, which led at times in all three games, had its six-match winning streak snapped and fell to 11-3.
"I think Staples played great," Stamford head coach Mike Smeriglio said. "It was very difficult to change the momentum. They were playing nice and relaxed."
"Amelia's one of the top players in the FCIAC," Shepro said. "She's just a junior and she's still got a lot to learn, but one thing she does real well is jump and hit. We're glad we had her there for game point."
"It was nice to get a kill to end the game," Brackett said. "But it was really a team effort overall."
The Black Knights led by a point on four different occasions early in the second game, but Staples regained the lead for good at 8-7. The Wreckers subsequently took eight of the next nine points to go up 16-8.
Stamford held a 17-16 lead in the first game, but Staples took the next point and went ahead for good at 18-17 on a kill by senior middle hitter Jen Dimitrief.
"To win that first game and give us the confidence that we could beat a team like Stamford, I think it set us in motion," Shepro said.
Coming into the afternoon, Stamford's lone losses came against the conference's top two teams, Darien (3-2) and Fairfield Ludlowe (3-0). Smeriglio knew that anything short of a complete effort against Staples wouldn't bode well for the Black Knights.
"We have to be better focused," he said. "You can't come in and play a team like Staples and not be at the top of your game, because you're going to get beat pretty badly.
"Hopefully it's a lesson."
email@example.com; 203-255-4561 ext. 114; twitter.com/DougBonjour
STAPLES 3, STAMFORD 0
STAMFORD 20 21 24--0
STAPLES 25 25 26--3
Records: Stamford 11-3; Staples 11-3.
Highlights: Sfd--Gretta Buckley had 15 kills and 12 digs. Daria Alexander had 11 kills and 19 digs. Brianna Gordon had 7 kills. Stp--Amelia Brackett had 12 kills. Lillian Rappaport had 16 digs. Frankie Lynch had 26 assists.