FAIRFIELD >> Aside from the inevitable first match nerves, Fairfield Ludlowe volleyball coach Meghan Skelton liked what she saw Wednesday evening.
“We have a lot of excitement ahead of us,” Skelton said. “I think this team is really capable of doing wonderful things.”
Wednesday night’s 3-0 sweep (25-21, 25-19, 25-15) over Staples was not only the start of the season but a sign of what potentially could be a very special year for Ludlowe.
Last season the Falcons lost in the Class LL state semifinals to Cheshire. Skelton said the obvious goal every year is to make it back to the postseason and compete for a state title, but she said the focus is on the team now, the players and improving each day.
“This team is going to be very dangerous in the state, I think we have a lot of potential, we have a lot of returners and we also have a lot of fresh blood,” Skelton said. “We got girls in new positions; I’ve got a very deep bench, so the possibilities are very open.”
Ludlowe displayed its versatility against a young but scrappy Wreckers squad. A myriad of self-made errors plagued both squads early on as Staples hung with Ludlowe in the first two games, but the net play in the middle of seniors April Cooke and Keki Cardenas proved to be too much in the end.
“I think they played great,” Staples coach Jon Shepro said of his team. “Obviously we were outgunned…Ludlowe’s a great team, they got all these big girls. The two middles are awesome.”
Cooke finished the night with 16 service points, three aces and nine kills. Cardenas added eight kills, four digs and four service points. Senior-setter and co-captain Andrea Alvarez chipped in with 16 assists.
Staples, which graduated a bulk of its Class LL state runner-up roster from last fall, built a 12-7 lead in the third set, but had trouble sustaining it. The Falcons found a nice offensive groove as Cooke rattled off 13 straight service points to give her team the lead and propel them to the victory.
“She’s just grown even more in her confidence,” Skelton said of Cooke.
Ludlowe will look to go 2-0 on the season Friday when they host Danbury.
“We have to work hard because this is the first one of many,” Alvarez said. “We can get way better.”