GREENWICH — There is truly no place like home.
The Greenwich High School girls volleyball team finally got to play its first home game of the season on its brand new court in the GHS gym Monday.
The Cardinals marked the occasion in proper style as No. 2 seed Greenwich swept No. 7 seed Stamford 25-11, 25-17, 25-13 in the FCIAC playoff quarterfinals.
“Being back in our gym means so much,” Greenwich senior setter and tri-captain Nicole Wood said.
Greenwich spent the regular season commuting to the Eastern Middle School gym to practice and play home contests.
“It’s been a difficult situation, but the girls have put in a lot of work to make it work,” Greenwich coach Steve Lapham said. “It’s great to be back home. Especially for our seven seniors.”
The win means Greenwich will play the winner of Tuesday’s 3:15 p.m. quarterfinal between No. 6 seed Staples and No. 3 seed Ridgefield at Ridgefield High School. Sunday’s rain and windstorm forced school to be canceled Monday at Ridgefield High.
Therefore, the FCIAC volleyball semifinals will now be Thursday at 5 and 7 p.m. at Ludlowe High School in Fairfield. The FCIAC final remains Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Ludlowe.
No. 5 seed Danbury battles No. 1 seed St. Joseph in Thursday’s other volleyball semifinal.
GREENWICH HAD TOO MANY WEAPONS
Monday’s triumph left Greenwich at 17-4 overall, 15-2 in the FCIAC and 13-0 in the month of October.
“We used a lot of different lineups in September. This month we all knew our roles,” Wood said. “Having settled in, we were able to add more things to our offense and defense.”
The versatility of the Cardinals kept potential blocks by Stamford’s defense to a minimum.
Greenwich senior Maggy Egan had 13 kills followed by senior Tara Ford with eight and senior Erika Hauschild with four.
“I couldn’t have done my job (31 assists) without great passes to start the offense,” Wood said. “I was able to disguise where the sets were going so (Stamford’s 6-foot-1 senior) Andrea O’Connor couldn’t block our hits.”
Greenwich’s serving was even better with three players (junior Amelia Bartlett, Hauschild, Wood) all with at least nine service points.
“The serving was excellent,” Lapham said.
STAMFORD LOOKS AHEAD
Stamford High paid the price Monday for being the defending FCIAC volleyball champion. The Black Knights ousted Greenwich in the 2016 playoffs.
Stamford (12-9, 9-8 FCIAC) won five of its last six matches to qualify for this year’s league tournament.
On Monday, Stamford led for just two points (2-1 in Game 1, 1-0 in Game 2) in the match.
“Greenwich is so good. They are one of the best teams in the league and the state,” Stamford’s veteran coach Mike Smeriglio said. “They have multiple options. Hits came from every direction. It wasn’t about what we did. It was about what they did.”
O’Connor had 10 kills, while Brooke Kelly collected 15 assists for Stamford.
GHS AND THE POSTSEASON
With six seniors and six juniors, Greenwich is motivated to chase its first FCIAC title since 2013 and first state crown since 2010.
“The seniors want postseason success so badly,” Wood said. “Our two postseason losses last year were very hard to recover from. This group is ready to do whatever it takes.”
“We’ve put the pieces in the right places now,” Lapham said. “Our losses to St. Joseph and (defending state champ) RHAM early in the season were great learning experiences.”
FCIAC PLAYOFF QUARTERFINALS
GREENWICH 3, STAMFORD 0
STAMFORD 11 17 13—0
GREENWICH 25 25 25—3
Records: Stamford 12-9, 9-8 FCIAC; Greenwich 17-4, 15-2 FCIAC.
Highlights: S—Andrea O’Connor 10 kills; Brooke Kelly 15 assists; Jordan Rossi 3 blocks, 1 kill. G—Maggy Egan 13 kills, 6 service points, 3 aces. Tara Ford 8 kills. Erika Hauschild 9 service points, 4 kills. Adnerys DeJesus 18 digs, 4 aces. Amelia Bartlett 9 service points. Nicole Wood 31 assists, 10 service points, 5 aces.