With two juniors off on college campus visits during school vacation week, Fairfield co-op boys volleyball coach Garrett Covino knew his team would be shorthanded Wednesday afternoon in an FCIAC match with Trumbull. Fairfield missed Tyler Dancho and captain JP Delbene, who ordinarily make an impact on the court, as the sharp play Covino stresses was evident only sporadically in the three-games-to-none victory at Fairfield Warde.
Yet the inconsistent effort did not stop Fairfield from earning its second win of the spring. Fairfield improved to 2-2 overall and 2-1 in the conference with a sweep of Trumbull (1-2). The scores were 25-8, 25-20 and 25-23. For the most part, those margins were indicative of the difference in play between the teams.
"It was a little bit of skill; it was a little bit of luck. Luck never hurts," Covino said. "I would say we were very sluggish today."
The skillful play from the co-op of Warde and Ludlowe players was supplied by Michael Sheets and captain Tim Beradino, who are juniors, and Daniel Kim, a sophomore. Kim, a setter, contributed 25 assists, 20 service points, four aces and four digs. Beradino put pressure on the Eagles with six kills, six points and three digs. Sheets help Fairfield at the net with nine kills, four points and four blocks.
Given a 1-0 lead when he began serving in the first game, Kim finally lost serve with Fairfield up 15-0. By that time, Trumbull coach Tamara DeBerry said, the tone for the match had been set.
"We started to move after the first game," DeBerry said. "We had to wake up. We were missing a few peoples. After we adjusted, we were able to get where we wanted to be. But it was too late. We gave Fairfield all the momentum. We were coming back from a deficit at that point."
After Fairfield's 15-0 advantage at the start of the match, Game No. 1 ended with a 10-8 edge for Fairfield. The tight play continued in the second game. The Eagles opened an 11-6 lead, then Fairfield rallied with an 8-3 spree to tie it at 14-14.Trumbull won the next point before Fairfield went on a 5-1 run for a 19-16 advantage. Trumbull came back to forge a 20-20 deadlock. Then Sheets delivered three points as Fairfield won the next five points for a 2-0 lead in games.
Trumbull fell into a 7-2 hole in the third game before getting untracked. Fairfield led by 12-10 before establishing four-point leads at five junctures, the last at 20-16. Rallies by Trumbull tied it at 20-20 and 22-22, but Fairfield closed out the Eagles on two points by Sheets before a Brian Russell kill ended it.
"Coming out with a big lead, we kind of backed off," Covino said. "We were able to come back and steady ourselves in Game 3. In Game 2, a lot of our players were confused. But we were too inconsistent and too indecisive for how we usually play. We had a lot of dropped balls, a lot of watching each other and wondering whose ball it was.
"(Tyler and JP) do help lead the team vocally with Tim Beradino," Covino said. "We were too quiet today. Losing two leaders, it obviously makes a big difference."
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Fairfield 3, Trumbull 0
TRUMBULL 8 20 23--0
FAIRFIELD 25 25 25--3
Records: Trumbull 1-2, Fairfield 2-2. Highlights: T--Zach Yellen had 12 kills, 11 digs, five assists and two blocks. Lucas Ferreira had 15 assists and four digs. Matt Douglass had six kills. F--Michael Sheets had nine kills, four service points and four blocks. Tim Beradino had six kills, six service points and three digs. Daniel Kim had 25 assists, 20 service points, four aces and four digs.