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Tuesday, April 24 Sports

Staples volleyball sweeps Greenwich

Staples boys volleyball coach Jon Shepro conceded that his new-look team wasn't ready for a tough road test against a top team in the state in its first game of the season.

After the Wreckers had their 21-match winning streak snapped Friday at Ridgefield, they returned to the court Monday looking for an improvement against another conference contender.

A 3-0 sweep of Greenwich (25-18, 25-13, 25-18) at home was more to Shepro's satisfaction, with his team showed glimpses of its outstanding potential that will likely be realized as the season goes along.

"This season we are going to get better every game," Shepro said. "It's important for my players to realize that and important to remind myself to keep my expectations in check as the team continues to grow."

Staples was led by Lucas Grevers (12 kills), Todd Goldstein (four kills, one block), Chris Wilk (five kills) and Jared Himmel (13 assists, three blocks).

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Game 1 was in the balance for most of its duration. The teams traded points until the Wreckers finally pulled away at 18-15.

"We came out fired up for the first game," Greenwich coach Pete Georgiou said. "We were going with a skeleton crew out there, but that takes nothing away from Staples; they were firing on all cylinders."

Staples led wire-to-wire in Game 2 by jumping out to leads of 7-1 and 14-6. The Wreckers finally found their groove during the stretch that included several outstanding kills from Grevers.

"We woke up after the first game and we started clicking," Goldstein said. "The sets were there, the passes were there and the hits were there; that's all you can ask for."

The Wreckers appeared to be cruising to a Game 3 win before the Cardinals made a late rally. Trailing 21-11, Greenwich claimed seven of the next 11 points before finally getting vanquished on an errant serve.

"We started off slowly," Goldstein said. "Obviously coming off a loss to a great team in Ridgefield we wanted to come out and prove to ourselves that we could play better as a team."

Over the weekend, the Wreckers participated in a 15-team invitational tournament held in Rhode Island that featured some of the best teams in the northeast. Staples went 2-6 in pool play before winning the bronze bracket tournament -- the teams were divided into three groups of five based on pool play records --at North Kingston High School. Wilk made the all-tournament team.

"We had good spurts here or there, but the main thing was (the purpose) was to become close as a team," Goldstein said. "To spend time with each other and learn about each other. I think it served its purpose."

The Cardinals, who were defeated 3-0 by the Wreckers in the FCIAC semifinals last season, missed some key contributors as a result of spring break. Greenwich is a young team that lacks big match experience, according to Georgiou.

"Our inexperience set in a little, bit but we saw a lot of positive things from our players, most of them playing in their first year," Georgiou said. "We'll take the positives things that we did and work on what we didn't do so well."

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rlacey@bcnnew.com, @ryanlacey11