FAIRFIELD --The Staples and Ridgefield boys volleyball teams have been on a collision course since the Tigers handed the Wreckers their only loss in their season opener April 11.
The two teams have just one loss between them since, and the rematch in the FCIAC championship game was officially set Wednesday as each prevailed in the semifinals. Staples defeated Darien 3-1 (25-18, 25-23, 19-25, 25-21) and the Tigers topped New Canaan 3-1 (25-19, 25-18, 22-25, 25-22) at Ludlowe High School, where they will meet Friday for all the marbles.
The Wreckers (16-1) survived a tough test from the Blue Wave. Staples won the first two games despite falling behind 8-5 in both, but Darien (16-5) senior George Phillips willed Darien back into the match. Phillips (18 kills) had seven kills in the third game as the Blue Wave cruised to a 25-19 win.
"I think every volleyball team rallies and it was their turn for a rally," Shepro said. "They are a really good team and we knew that. I think we made it a little bit easier for them; we hit a couple of balls out and we started to play tight. Once we started relaxing and playing our game, that was the end of it."
Staples responded in the fourth game by jumping out to a 14-3 lead, but Darien rallied and pulled to within a point at 22-21. The Wreckers called timeout and senior Lucas Grevers responded with a pair of kills before Darien made an error sealed the match.
"That's our offense, it runs around Lucas," Shepro said. "When we can set up the middle for Lucas it makes us a different team. When teams key on Lucas it opens things up for the outside (hitters)."
FCIAC boys volleyball semifinals
Staples 3, Darien 1
DARIEN 18 13 25 21--1
STAPLES 25 25 19 25--3
Records: Darien 16-5, 14-3 FCIAC; Staples 16-1, 16-1. Highlights: D--George Phillips had 18 kills, four aces, one block and 11 service points. Todd Herget had 10 kills. Tim Herget had 29 assists. S--Lucas Grevers had 12 kills and one block. Ian Grimes had 14 kills and two digs. Andrew Mariott had 43 assists.