The Wreckers made good on a season-opening loss to Ridgefield Friday evening at Fairfield Ludlowe as they defeated the Tigers in four sets 25-15, 16-25, 25-22, 25-15 to win their second straight FCIAC boys’ volleyball title.
“Yeah, Ridgefield has been on our mind since day one, even before the first game,” senior and co-captain Todd Goldstein said. “And I think after losing to them it got the train rolling.”
Led by an all-around team effort, Staples (17-1) was dominant in nearly every facet. From strong net play to passing, Ridgefield had its hands full all evening.
“They’ve got great hitters, and we knew we were going to have to set the tone at the net,” Goldstein said. “And I think we really did that; we really executed our game plan well and I think once we did that, that gave us all the momentum right from the beginning.”
Paced by Ian Grimes, who was named the Most Valuable Player, Staples found a nice opening rhythm as they jumped out a 5-1 advantage in the first set. Ridgefield, which was plagued by self-made errors, was never able to seize any momentum, as they got within 16-11, but couldn’t get any closer.
Ridgefield took Game 2 led by a strong offensive effort from Griffin Jones. The Tigers kept the third set close, coming within three and two points multiple times, including 23-22 late, but could never fully take the lead. Staples’ Goldstein provided a monster kill and a block to seal the victory and put Staples up 2-1.
“I think it was just missed opportunities,” Ridgefield head coach Lidania Cibere said. “Credit to Staples; they are a great team, it was their day today.”
In a must win situation for Ridgefield in the fourth set, the Tigers played Staples close, but again, the Wreckers were able to pull away midway through. The Wreckers went up 13-9 and built their lead from there. Led by a highlight worthy back row kill from Grimes, Staples had no trouble finishing off Ridgefield.
“We just believed in each other,” Goldstein said. “It’s that mindset of regardless of the score, just win the next point. It’s something (head coach, Jon) Shepro has instilled in us.”
Staples was paced by senior Andrew Marriott’s 39 assists, who did a nice job of setting up the offense. Senior co-captain Lucas Grevers finished with 12 kills.
For many of the players, Friday was a repeat of last year when they defeated Ridgefield for the FCIAC title in 2013.
“I think volleyball is such a team sport that no matter who you win it with it’s special,” Goldstein said. “And being a senior, I’ve been with these guys since freshman and sophomore year, and it’s just special to do it twice. I wait every year for volleyball season and to end the FCIAC season this way is great.”