Ludlowe too tall for Stamford in volleyball showdown
Published 9:07 pm, Thursday, October 3, 2013
FAIRFIELD -- A basketball team with a height disadvantage can overcome the problem with some strong perimeter shooting. When volleyball players face the same predicament, well, wish them luck. They better be perfect with their passing and precise on hits.
Thursday the Stamford High volleyball team was neither perfect nor precise. The result was a 3-1 loss to the FCIAC's tallest team, Fairfield Ludlowe.
When asked what his team could do with such a dilemma, Stamford coach Mike Smeriglio simply said, "You lose 3-1, that's what you do."
Ludlowe (7-1) had four players as tall or taller than Stamford's tallest girl Anne Ellertson. Brianna Gordon, tall by most standards, seemed average sized standing alongside the lanky front line of the Falcons.
"Height helps," Ludlowe coach Meg Skelton said after her team's 25-17, 24-26, 25-19, 25-18 victory. "You can't coach height. It made a big difference today."
Thursday's match was a battle between two FCIAC title contenders sitting behind perennial champion Darien. Both teams had just one blemish on their resume: a loss in four games to the undefeated Blue Wave. Stamford (7-2), however, needed to be at its best to have a shot and, despite flashing signs of greatness, the Black Knights came up ... a little short.
"I asked them after the game, `Did we play our best?' " Smeriglio said. "They said no. So, I said, `That's good because if we did we'd be in trouble.' "
Gordon led Stamford with seven blocks and nine kills. Nicole Pease added three kills, Kirsi Balazs had 18 assists, Ellertson had two blocks and Cali Schenkel had one block. Ten total blocks against that front line was impressive but not enough.
Casey Boatright led the Falcons with 15 kills off 24 attacks while April Cooke had seven kills off 16 attacks. The Falcons also showed they have more than just size as their passing and serving skills would attest.
"We try to be consistent and keep the girls on an even keel," Skelton said. "But Stamford had us on our heels a few times the way they kept coming back."
The Knights watched Ludlowe outscore them 9-1 to finish off Game 1 25-17. But then after falling behind 5-1 and 18-14 in Game 2, the Knights rallied for a 26-24 victory. Ludlowe was never really threatened in Game 3 and took a 10-2 lead in Game 4. Then, led by Gisselle Lopez, it quickly became a 12-12 tie.
But soon Boatright and Cooke and the other front liners for Ludlowe took over.
"They are not just tall, they know how to use their height," Smeriglio said. "They're a great team and well coached. We made too many unforced errors but the way we came back is what I'm happiest about."
Colleen Blatt had 18 assists for Ludlowe while Andrea Alvarez had 17 assists and four aces and Corrinne Lang had 13 service points and six aces. Besides dominating at the net, Boatright added seven aces.