WESTPORT -- The Darien High girls volleyball team pulled no surprises on the court in registering yet another one of its patented 3-0 wins.

The 10-time defending FCIAC champions were every bit the force that Staples head coach Jon Shepro expected them to be, as the Blue Wave stormed past the Wreckers 25-19, 25-22 and 25-19 on Tuesday afternoon.

"Darien's the toughest team we're going to face. We came at them," Shepro said. "We had an offense, we swung at the ball and kept Darien on their toes. They had to make plays to beat us and they made the plays."

The Blue Wave extended its perfect start to 11 and it has closed out its opponents 3-0 in all but two of those wins.

"We're getting where we need to go. We're happy with the win," Darien assistant coach Burt Takesue said. "We took advantage of some of their mistakes and capitalized on them, which is good. We kept our focus throughout the whole (match)."

Staples (8-2) challenged its opponent at the net throughout the match but Darien's top hitters, seniors Riley Sousa and Kelly Kosnik, often made difficult life for the Wreckers. Kosnik recorded 14 digs, 13 kills and six service points, and Sousa had 13 kills and four digs. Sophomore Celia Martzolf led all players with 36 assists.

Time and again, the Blue Wave did what it does best.

"Their game has always been their defense and their passing, and it showed today," Shepro said. "We came after them with two or three hits in a turn and they'd dig them all up and then steal a point from us."

For Staples, junior hitter Amelia Brackett had nine kills and senior Jen Dimitrief added five kills. Senior defense specialist Lily Rappaport recorded 16 digs.

Staples played Darien tight and trailed by no more than four points in the second game before the Blue Wave pulled ahead 22-17. Although the Wreckers got within a point on multiple occasions in the game, they rarely had an answer.

Darien, which trailed twice at 2-1 and 3-2, closed it out 25-22 on an unforced error.

"Momentum's a strange thing in volleyball," Shepro said. "You just try to find ways to keep it up. ... We couldn't get over the hump. Every time we got within a point, we seemed to miss a serve."

At that point, the Blue Wave, which has lost just three games all season, was well on its way to recording another victory.

"You have to jump on them and stay on top of them," Takesue said. "It's very hard to come back after you have a deficit."

Darien trailed 4-1 in the third game but answered right back with four straight points--the final a block by senior Taylor Cockerill--to shift the momentum. The Blue Wave held slim leads of 10-9 and 12-11 before creating some distance on the scoreboard.

Staples got to within 24-19 late but Kosnik closed out the match just moments later with a kill.

Despite falling for the first time in six matches, Staples took solace in its effort against a perennial power.

"We were disappointed we didn't win but we were really happy with the way we played," said senior Frankie Lynch, who led Staples with 23 assists. "I think we've come a really, really long way. We really have no regrets. We all played our hearts out."

dbonjour@scni.com; 203-255-4561 ext. 114; twitter.com/DougBonjour


DARIEN 25 25 25--3

STAPLES 19 22 19--0

Records: Darien 11-0; Staples 8-2.

Highlights: D--Kelly Kosnik had 14 digs, 13 kills and six service points. Celia Martzolf had 36 assists and seven service points. Riley Sousa had 13 kills, four digs and four points. S--Frankie Lynch had 23 assists and one kill. Jen Dimitrief had five kills and one dig. Lily Rappaport had 16 digs and one ace. Amelia Brackett had nine kills.