Operating like a well-oiled machine, the Staples boys volleyball team got contributions from every player that stepped on the court in its FCIAC final battle with Ridgefield on Friday night.
The depth of the Wreckers is usually what separates them from the pack, and it did again as Staples captured its second straight FCIAC title and 10 in 12 years with a 3-1 (25-15, 16-25. 25-22, 25-15) win over Ridgefield at Ludlowe High School.
"That's what makes our team so special," Staples coach Jon Shepro said. "We have players that can hit from every spot. We really have six guys; we may not have the best player in the league or the best two players, but we got six guys that play together. We have the best six guys on the floor."
The Wreckers, who also defeated the Tigers in last season's final, dropped their opener to Ridgefield April 11 before reeling off 17 straight wins to claim the title. Staples' Ian Grimes (14 kills) was named the game's MVP.
"The second win is better than the first one in my opinion," said Wreckers captain Lucas Grevers, who had 12 kills. "I think we worked harder this time; all of the guys put in so much effort. I got to end the game with a kill last year, this year and I ended it with a block, so I'm happy about that."
The match turned for good during the crucial third game with the match tied at one. Staples held a narrow lead for most of the set, eventually increasing their lead to 23-19. Ridgefield rallied with three straight points to cut it to 23-22, but Staples senior Todd Goldstein responded with a kill and a block to seal the game.
The Wreckers (17-1) stormed out of the blocks to take a 1-0 lead. Staples scored 11 of the game's first 15 points to force a quick timeout by the Tigers (18-2). That didn't halt the Wreckers train, as their excellent passing, led by Andrew Marriott (39 assists), helped close out a rather routine win.
"I think it was just missed opportunities," Ridgefield coach Lidania Cibere said. "There were times when the ball was going out of bounds and would touch us. Credit to Staples, they are a great team and it was their day today. I felt even when we went on a run, they held onto it."
The Tigers, making their third straight FCIAC final appearance, quickly responded to level up the match. Karl Liapunov and Griffin Jones led the charge on offense as Ridgefield built a 19-11 lead and cruised to a win.
"(Staples) did a good job blocking us," Cibere said. "When we played quicker, we were able to get some points. The problem was unforced errors, really. People playing out of position kind of killed us too."
Staples rode that momentum to a win in the fourth and final set. The teams were locked at nine before Staples went on a 10-4 run to take command, led by the dynamic play of Grimes. From there, the teams traded points until the FCIAC trophy belonged to the Wreckers.
"He's worked so hard for so long," Shepro said of Grimes. "He's a great player; I don't know if he got recognition last year for his contributions. He had a great game. His back row attack in the fourth game was unbelievable. He made some big kills and had some big defensive plays."
Staples 3, Ridgefield 1
RIDGEFIELD 15 25 22 15--1 Read Full Article
STAPLES 25 16 25 25--3
Records: Ridgefield 18-2, 16-2 FCIAC; Staples 17-1, 17-1. Highlights: S--Lucas Grevers had 12 kills. Ian Grimes had 14 kills. Andrew Marriott had 39 assists.