Staples spring sports wrapup
There is something about the spring season that brings out the best in Staples' sensational athletes. The nine spring teams (excluding track, which focuses more on individual competition) posted a combined 120-41 record counting playoffs.
FCIAC and state Championships occurred as a result in addition to a number of deep postseason runs.
Here's a look back at the 2014 spring season and the Westport News picks for most valuable players on each team.
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MVP: Adam Dulsky
Thanks to an stellar pitching staff led by Rob Vallone (4-1), Ryder Chasin (4-1) and Justin Gallanty (4-0), Staples allowed just 2.45 runs per game in the regular season to post a 17-3 record. Ten of the 22 games the Wreckers played were decided by three runs or fewer.
Staples entered the postseason with an 11-game winning streak, which earned the Wreckers the No. 1 seed in the FCIAC and the No. 2 seed in Class LL. The momentum was quickly halted in the playoffs as Greenwich upset the Wreckers 6-2 in eight innings in the FCIAC quarterfinals.
Things went from bad to worse for Staples as upstart Fairfield Warde, which won the FCIAC tournament and reached the Class LL semifinals, ended the Wreckers' season in the second round of the state tournament.
MVP: Peter Richards
No sport has quite the home field advantage as golf, and the Wreckers protected their home at Longshore well in 2014. Staples averaged a score of 152 on its home course to go 9-1.
Staples posted its best round of the season (145) May 20 in a win over Trumbull and Darien. The Wreckers (321) placed fifth at the FCIAC championships June 2, 14 shots off the pace set by Greenwich and Darien (314). Staples shot a 320 to place in a tie for sixth at the Division I state championships June 9.
Peter Richards and Andrew Felman combined to shoot a 67 to finish in a tie for fifth at the Chappa Invitational, which was held at Longshore May 22.
MVP: Faith Garcia
The FCIAC girls golf race evolved from a two-horse race between rivals Staples and Greenwich to include Danbury. Staples got a stern test in second match of the season against the Hatters April 24 before the Wreckers prevailed 191-194.
The Wreckers split a pair of meetings with Greenwich this season that were both decided by two strokes. The Cardinals prevailed 172-174 May 1 at Longshore before the Wreckers returned the favor May 22.
The FCIAC championships June 4 proved to be almost as close, with Greenwich edging the Wreckers 342-345 for the title while Danbury (349) finished third. The Cardinals (335) dominated at the state championship as Staples shot a 355 to place third at Orange Hills Country Club.
MVP: Isaac Paparo
The 2014 season was much like 2013 for the Wreckers, who rebounded from an early FCIAC playoff exit to make it all the way to the Class L state final. Also like last year, a rock-solid defense and excellent play in goal by Cole Gendels led the way. Staples held its opponents to five goals or fewer in 12 of 21 games.
Staples, which had winning streaks of five and six games, fell 9-8 to New Canaan in the FCIAC quarterfinals May 23 despite a furious fourth quarter rally. The Wreckers defeated Hall, Simsbury and Amity during their state playoff run before falling 13-10 to Greenwich in the title game June 14.
MVP: Jenna McNicholas
The Wreckers knocked on the door of the FCIAC elite four -- Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan and Wilton -- all season and finally came away with a landmark win May 15 when they defeated the Cardinals 17-14.
Staples suffered a heartbreaking 14-13 loss in the FCIAC quarterfinals against Greenwich May 23 despite trailing 14-8 with 6:28 left. The Wreckers were also ousted in the first round of the Class L by a single goal, falling 7-6 to Cheshire June 3.
Staples, which graduates just four seniors, was led by juniors Jenna McNicholas and Amelia Heisler, who both made the All-FCIAC first team. Junior Paige Murray led the attack while senior Meredith Hood was a vital cog in the midfield.
Freshman Colleen Bannon also burst onto the scene to make the All-FCIAC second team.
MVP: Chrissy McCarthy
Although the Wreckers were snake bit in close games -- Staples went 1-6 in games decided by two runs or less -- the team still earned enough wins to qualify for the Class LL state tournament.
Staples almost pulled off a massive upset in the first round of states before falling 9-7 against Daniel Hand June 2. The Wreckers trailed 9-4 in the sixth inning before rallying late.
The true highlight of the season was the opening of the team's new home at Wakeman Field. After spending years at Greens Farms Elementary, the Wreckers officially opened their new home April 22 in a 19-0 win over Bassick.
Freshman pitcher Gillian Birk ended the season as the primary starter and cleanup batter and should be a big part of the Wreckers resurgence in the coming seasons.
MVP: Luke Foreman
The Wreckers are used to being in the mix when it comes to boys tennis, but it all came together in 2014 as Staples posted a perfect season that included an FCIAC and Class LL championship. Staples last accomplished that double in 1982.
Despite the gaudy record and trophies that came as a result, the Wreckers had to work hard in the crucial moments. The FCIAC championship match with Ridgefield May 29 was deadlocked at three before Baxter Stein and Connor Mitnick pulled out a three-set win. The duo was right back in the fire during the Class LL final June 11, and needed to rally to secure a three-set win over Greenwich's Shaw Speer/Louis McKenzie to clinch the championship.
The Wreckers also enjoyed individual success at the State Open. Foreman reached the final before falling to Xavier's Richard Ciamarra and Stein and Mitnick reached the doubles semifinals.
MVP: Melissa Beretta
The Wreckers had a goal of making it to an FCIAC and state final in 2014, but fell one round short of each as familiar foes Fairfield Ludlowe and Darien stood in their way.
Staples had a 13-match winning streak snapped in the FCIAC semifinals, a 5-2 defeat to Ludlowe May 23. The Wreckers also advanced to the Class L semifinals, where the Blue Wave pulled out a 5-2 win June 4 that included a pair of three-set matches and another pair of two-setters that went to the wire.
Beretta went 11-3 during the regular season to earn All-FCIAC honors.
Kelsey Shockey and Vanessa Mauricio (11-3) went on a torrid run through the State Open, defeating teams from Ridgefield, Darien and Fairfield Warde to reach the final. Shockey and Mauricio fell 6-3, 7-6 (8-6) to Wilton's Kaitlyn Zheng and Taylor Ingerman in the championship match.
MVP: Lucas Grevers
The Wreckers dropped their opener to Ridgefield April 11 before winning the next 18 matches, including 14 sweeps. That included a payback 3-1 win over the Tigers in the FCIAC final to clinch their 10th conference title in 12 seasons.
The feel good season ended in staggering fashion as Southington swept the Wreckers out of the Class L semifinals June 9. The defeat, believed to be the first sweep against the Wreckers in program history, was the second in the last three seasons in the state semifinals after reaching the previous six finals.
The depth of the Wreckers carried them to Ian Grimes and Lucas Grevers provided solid all-around play while Andrew Marriott's passing progressed as the season went along.
MVPs: Hannah DeBalsi, Robert Jacowleff
DeBalsi dominated the distance circuit once again to conclude a sophomore season as a 2-mile national champion. DeBalsi helped the Wreckers placed second at FCIACs, won the Class LL championship and finished second at the State Open.
DeBalsi (1,600 and 3,200) Tyler Scanlin and Erica Hefnawy (800), Olivia Wiener (300 hurdles and javelin) and Reece Schachne (javelin) all scored points as the Wreckers came within 2.5 points of capturing the state open title.
The boys placed sixth at FCIACs, seventh at Class LL and 11th at the State Open.