— Mary Albl (@MaryAlbl) October 22, 2015
FAIRFIELD >> Wednesday evening’s result for the Fairfield Warde girls’ volleyball program was a long time coming.
Since Warde and Ludlowe separated into two schools in 2005, the Falcons have dominated the town rivalry on the volleyball court.
The Mustangs, runner-up so many years, including a dramatic five-set loss two years, finally put it all together for one special moment.
Down 2-0, Warde rallied to win the next three sets (14-25, 24-26, 25-18, 25-9, 16-14) to defeat the Falcons in a crazy five-game match for the first time in program history at Warde gymnasium.
“When we were shaking hands, I looked up at the score because I still didn’t believe it was 16-14,” Warde head coach Matt Narwold said. “To come back from 2-0, we’ve worked really hard for this.”
For the Mustangs (11-5), the theme of the night was resiliency. After fighting back to tie the match at two sets a piece, Warde fell behind 7-3 early in the fifth, but slowly rallied, building on the strong chemistry and net play.
The senior leadership of Jenny Schneider and others, combined with the dominant net play of Nicole Vacarella was the difference maker in the 16-14 fifth set victory.
“It was so emotional,” Vacarella said of the final game. “We were all getting so hyped up, and I was like, ‘Let’s Go.’ It’s amazing.”
After the Mustangs collected the game-winning point, it was a moment of excitement, as the team was able to celebrate their accomplishment.
“Best night of the my life, I’m not kidding,” Schneider said with a giant grin.
For Warde, the team relied on its past experiences to help them make the historic comeback.
“I said to them, ‘Warde volleyball has been here before against this same team, in this gym, two years ago,’” Narwold said. “We know how to beat them.”
After nearly winning the second set, the Mustangs seized the momentum and never let Ludlowe regain it, winning the third game and dominating the fourth.
“They did an amazing job, they were all heart,” Ludlowe head coach Meghan Skelton said. “They revved up and we revved down.”
Warde’s height and hitting stood out in the final three sets as Vacarella provided an intimidating one-two punch of hitting and blocking throughout the night.
“She’s an amazing player; anyone is going to have a hard time stopping her,” Skelton said. “They won on the net.”
The loss for Ludlowe (11-3) will hopefully be fueled into motivation going into a key match against Greenwich at home on Friday.
Warde, still vying for a coveted FCIAC Tournament spot, is hoping to keep the momentum going against St. Joes on Friday.