WESTPORT — Despite an inspired effort on the road, McMahon’s season came to an end in the first round of the Class LL playoffs following a 3-0 loss to Staples on Monday evening.
McMahon had to go into the match with a number of unproven underclassmen after several key players were unable to play, coach Peter Georgiou said.
“We have some injuries and some people away,” he said. “So there were some people playing some new key roles and they responded really well. Staples was just the more prepared team today.”
Staples dominated the opening game of the match early, stringing together a 10-3 advantage before a quick timeout from the Senators to try and stop the bleeding. Although a short burst pulled McMahon within six points, the defensive pressure from Staples would be too much.
“It’s great to know that when they look like they’re going to get a good swing,” Wreckers coach Jon Shepro said. “We know we’ve got a shot. Even when they are giving us those great swings, we know we got a shot. We know we can turn their offense into our offense as quick as possible.”
Seniors Amanda Troelstra and Mackenzie Lesher each finished with a team-high eight kills, but the tone for the team was set by junior Isabella Jagenberg — who stuffed the stat sheet with seven kills, three blocks, and a service ace.
The strong defensive performance came from the preparation that Staples did coming into the match, Jagenberg said.
“We’re especially cognizant when we had practice,” she said. “We think that it’s really important to stop the ball at the net instead of having to fight for it when it comes over. It just makes the job for our backup players that easier.”
After falling behind in the third game 12-3, McMahon mounted a comeback — pulling the game within 21-18.
But Staples’ defense rebounded — led by back-to-back points from Jagenberg — to put the game and match out of reach.
The win pushes the No. 15 Wreckers into a matchup on the road against No. 2 Southington on Thursday at 6 p.m.
Although coming into the game as underdogs, the Staples squad will be prepared to extend its season, Shepro said.
“We’ve been trying to play fun,” he said. “We just want the season to go on. It’s been an awesome season, we’ve been having so much fun and that’s kind of been the mantra going forward.”
WE MEET AGAIN
McMahon knocked off Staples earlier in the season 3-1. That game was played back on October 6. It was the only meeting of the two FCIAC squads on the year and was in Norwalk at McMahon.
READY TO PLAY
After losing in the CCC Final against RHAM, Southington (16-2) comes into Thursday’s matchup with Staples as the No. 2 seed following a first-round bye.
“Everyone played well and brought their ‘A’ game. Towards (the end of) one of the sets, we fell a little bit behind. So we really pulled it together and fought as a unit and I think going on in the states, it’s really going to help us stay motivated.” — Staples junior Isabella Jagenberg on looking ahead in the state tournament after knocking off McMahon.
STAPLES 3, MCMAHON 0
MCMAHON 16 14 18—0
STAPLES 25 25 25—3
Records: Staples 13-7, McMahon 12-9. Highlights: S—Jane Van Arsdale had four kills and Vanessa Eng had six service aces, M—Taylor Morton had 12 kills. Lila Young had three kills and Tes DeJaeger had 15 assists.