WESTPORT — Greenwich was ranked No. 1 in the season’s first Connecticut volleyball coaches poll and it certainly has lived up to its top spot with its play this week.
After sweeping Brien McMahon on Tuesday, the Cardinals added another three-set win to their ledge on Thursday, showcasing all of their strengths.
Serving well, while effectively receiving the serve, Greenwich’s offense was in tune in its 3-0 victory over host Staples in an FCIAC match.
The soaring Cardinals raised their record to 9-0 overall and 8-0 against FCIAC foes. Junior Lilly Saleeby registered 14 kills, while sophomore Heather Zitzmann posted 30 assists and 13 points for the Cardinals, who won the match, 25-13, 25-14, 25-15.
“We played one of our cleaner matches,” GHS coach Steve Lapham said. “Our serving was tough and our timing is better. Heather (Zitzmann) did a good job. She put up a lot of hittable balls for us.”
Junior Cornelia Roach recorded four kills and three blocks for the Cardinals, who were also paced by sophomore Adele Sotgiu and junior Chelsea Cleary.
“We were focusing on transitioning and toward the end we got it together,” Sotgiu said. “We were focusing on playing smart, hitting spots and everyone was hitting great spots.”
Staples is 4-4, following its fourth straight loss — all to tough teams. Senior Mallory Legg had six digs, while Jane Van Arsdale totaled three kills and five digs for the Wreckers.
“I think we played really well,” Legg said. “We’re learning to work well as a group still, but I think our fundamentals are getting there. We need to work a little bit on serve receive.”
After winning the first two games in which it displayed strong serving and impressive hitting, Greenwich took the lead for good at 8-7 in the third game on a kill by Saleeby.
Efficient serving by Zitzmann enabled the Cards to build their advantage in the final set. A block by senior Julia Grimes of Staples brought the home team to within 16-13, but that’s the closest they came the rest of the way.
“The key was that our hitters were all on time and the passers were being so aggressive and doing their best to get up the perfect balls,” Zitzmann said. “We also had great energy, so we were able to push through any low points and tough points.”
For Staples, the match was a good learning lesson as it moves forward in its season.
“Our digs are almost always getting up and our hits most of the time are going down,” Legg said. “Definitely serve receive, blocking and coverage is the next move for us.”
As for Greenwich’s perfect start to the season?
“It’s so exciting,” Zitzmann said. “All of us are so close and we are all growing each game. “As we’re playing tougher teams, we’re getting better and better and growing closer and closer.”
“Greenwich is currently ranked No. 1 in the state and they have hitters all over the place,” Staples coach Jon Shepro said. “It’s nice for us to see how we play against such tough competition. We made some great plays against them, but ultimately, the mistakes are going to cost you. You can’t get aced six, or seven times a game and come back against a team like that.”
Said Sotgiu: “I’m really excited about how well we’re playing. I think we’re going to go really far this season. Everyone is pumped that we’re undefeated so far.”