WESTPORT >> The expectations within the Staples High boys’ volleyball program are always high. Nine state and 11 conference titles have a lot to do with that.
Coming into this spring, it’s no different. A year after losing just one match on the way to a 21-1 record that resulted in an FCIAC and Class L State Tournament crown, the goal is the same: win a championship.
“We set our standards high,” senior co-captain Todd Goldstein said. “Staples has a great history. We want to have that feeling again; it’s almost kind of like an FCIAC or bust or state or busy for us, because we know we have the talent here, we just have to put it all together.”
The Wreckers won’t be rebuilding despite graduating five key players and returning just two with significant experience.
Lucas Grevers and Goldstein will anchor the rotation, but head coach Jon Shepro isn’t worried about the other players quickly fitting in.
“We had a bunch of guys on the bench last year with experience. They saw everything that we went though and saw the works it takes,” Shepro said. “They were on the championship team, now they kind of want to do it for themselves.”
Numbers will also be a key component to Staples’ success this spring.
“We’re a pretty deep team,” Shepro said. “We can play a lot of different lineups. I don’t think other teams are going to be able to game plan us very well. We’ve got so many different options.”
While the Wreckers haven’t settled on a starting rotation, Shepro mentioned there have been a handful of players who have stepped up already.
“Chris Wilk he had a great offseason,” Goldstein said. “Ian Grimes, Grayson Weir, and our two sophomores have been doing a great job.”
Net play will be the biggest strength for the Wreckers this spring as Grevers returns as one of the best hitters in the state.
“No matter where Lucas is on the court, there’s going to be a kill coming,” Goldstein said.
The one area where Staples is always looking to improve is on defense.
My philosophy has been passing, serve receive,” Shepro said. “You’ve got to be able to receive a serve and start your offense. If you can’t do that, you can’t win games.”
The Wreckers, who own a 21-match win streak, will get an early season challenge as they open up the season on Friday on the road against Ridgefield, and then travel to the Rhode Island Tournament on Saturday.
Grevers said the ultimate goal is to get back to the postseason and make a run, but right now the focus is getting better.
“I think there’s always pressure coming in off a championships season,” Grevers said. “But I think right now it’s getting everyone focused in the right spot and to make sure we are able to continue that win streak.”