The start of a tough week for the Fairfield Ludlowe girls volleyball team did not go exactly as the Falcons had hoped, as they fell to an impressive Greenwich squad on Monday night. With the matched tied 1-1, the Falcons let leads slip away in the final two games, leading to the 3-1 loss (25-22, 21-25, 25-18, 26-24) on their home court.

"They were a good team, they played really, really well," said Ludlowe coach Chris Skelton. "We played well, a few of our players played unbelievable, a few of our players had a tough day, but that happens to every athlete."

Ludlowe (6-2, 6-2 FCIAC) was led by senior captain Maddy McCaffrey, who had 19 kills, 12 digs and five blocks from her middle hitter position. Senior outside hitter Ashley Curtis had 23 digs and four service aces, while fellow senior Heather Wamser finished with 20 digs, eight service aces and five kills. Greenwich (7-1, 7-1) received a gritty performance from captain and star outside hitter Kelsey Goodwin, who had 23 kills and 17 digs, while playing on an injured ankle.

Greenwich has finished second in the FCIAC in each of the last three seasons and have only one loss this season, to undefeated Darien. Ludlowe suffered a tough defeat, 3-2, on the road to St. Joseph in Trumbull on Sept. 20, but then reeled off a stretch of five victories, before the loss to Greenwich on Monday.

Ludlowe and Greenwich split the first two games and then the Falcons had two opportunities to either take control or stay in the third and fourth games, but could not finish.

The Falcons opened up a 12-7 lead in the first game, but a run by Greenwich cut their lead down to 12-11, forcing Skelton to take a timeout. After the break, Ludlowe regained momentum, extending its lead to 15-11, but then the Cardinals got on a roll, finishing the game with an 11-5 run for the win.

Greenwich had the Falcons on the ropes with a 21-20 lead in the second set, but this time it was Ludlowe's turn to take over, taking the next five points on the way to a 25-21 victory to even the match at one game apiece.

Ludlowe was able to keep up the momentum, charging out to a 14-8 lead in the third game, but the Falcons then allowed a 17-4 rally by Greenwich. Ludlowe fell short in a comeback try of its own, dropping the third game, 25-18, giving Greenwich a 2-1 lead.

In the fourth and final game, Ludlowe jumped out to a 14-9 advantage, but Greenwich went on another run to bring the game to 15-13. The Falcons clung to a small lead, until the Cardinals overtook them at 21-20. A clutch service ace by Wamser kept the Falcons monentarily alive at 24-24, as she just snuck the ball into the right corner, inside the line. But, after regaining serve, Greenwich slammed down an ace of its own for the game and match victory.

"Those are usually pretty killer," Skelton said of the Greenwich rallies. "I think each game we went up in the beginning and just couldn't hold the lead and that's pretty demoralizing, especially in a game where momentum can swing either way very quickly."

Greenwich coach Steve Lapham said Ludlowe gave his team a difficult game, as expected.

"I knew this was going to be a tough team, [McCaffrey] is a great player," said Lapham. "And they have three great jump servers and that was giving us a lot of trouble. It was good serving, [Wamser] was cutting them really short and hitting tape. They're coached well and do good things with the ball, they don't give anything easy."

A difficult week for Ludlowe continues with the annual rivalry match at home against cross-town Fairfield Warde (5-3) on Wednesday, before traveling to Stamford to face Westhill (4-3) on Friday.

"They're a good team, they always give us a good game," Skelton said about Warde. "It's always good after a loss to have a game like Warde coming up, so we'll look forward to that one."

The Falcons square off with the Mustangs at 7 p.m. in the Ludlowe main gym on Wednesday. Their match at Westhill will be at 4 p.m.