Prenderville and Fitzgerald leads Staples to 3-0 win

When the Staples boys volleyball team gets tested, it figures out a way to pull through. Staples was tested in the first game at Fairfield Ludlowe against the Fairfield co-op team on Wednesday, but in the end, it picked up its game and raised its record to 14-0 with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-13, 25-11) win, its 94th straight win. Fairfield dropped to 4-10.

"Every match, we try to play the best volleyball we can," Wreckers Coach Bruce Betts said. "The better our record, the higher our seed will be in the tournament. We could have been more intense today."

Senior captain Tom Prederville (13 kills, two blocks, four service points) led Staples. Prenderville's ability to pound the ball home gave the Wreckers a 16-10 lead in the first game.

"We had good passing today, which made it easier for our setters," Prenderville said. "We knew Fairfield is a good team and we had to take them seriously."

The Mustangs didn't make it easy for Staples. Fairfield got to many balls and robbed the Wreckers of kills with Mustang senior liero Zach Segala (nine digs, three service points), classmate Terry Corcoran (six kills, five digs), freshman Alec Gropman (10 digs) and senior James Warde (three digs, two service points) frequently robbing Staples of kills.

Corcoran, junior Patrick Kerrigan (six kills, three blocks) and senior Brett Krumins (five kills, two blocks) were offensive forces for Fairfield and cut it to 20-19 on Kerrigan's swat with authority during senior Sam Risley's serve (three service points).

However, the Mustangs couldn't get closer as the Wreckers started to pull away. Sophomore Jonah Aelyon (three kills, three service points) ended Fairfield's hopes with a tip and then served two points with senior captain Evan Gaumert securing one of them with a kill. Junior Danny Fishman (13 assists, five service points, one ace, one kill) wrapped up the game with a kill.

In the second and third games, Staples was in control throughout and was never threatened. Gaumert (three kills, 14 service points, four aces) was a serving force and was especially masterful behind the line in the third game.

"The key was picking a spot and aiming for it," Gaumert said. "I focused on hard serves and keeping it in. We found their weaknesses in the first game and attacked it in the second and third games."

Senior captains Matt Brill (four kills) and Mikey Fitzgerald (four kills, 12 assists, two blocks, eight service points, two aces) complemented Prenderville in the front row by pounding home many kills and senior captain Andrew Glenn (four kills, one assist, one block, four service points, one ace) found the gaps from the weak side and pounded it home from there.

Glenn, Gaumert and senior libero Ryan Winter played well defensively and prevented Fairfield shots from falling for kills.

Fitzgerald broke it open in the third game by serving six straight points and was also deft in setting up his teammates for kills.

"Basically, I stayed focused and consistent and I let my teammates do the rest," Fitzgerald said.

Fishman and senior lefty Danny Hlawitschka (four assists) also did a good job in setting up the offense.

The Wreckers face a big test today when it hosts Ridgefield at 4 p.m., a team beat 3-2 at Ridgefield last Friday. This will be their biggest test towards their undefeated streak.

"We need to be pushed and see how we react to it," Betts said.

Prenderville said, "We know we have to take them much more seriously and we know we have to up our game in order to beat them. Ridgefield is the first team we saw who can match our strengths but in the end, we realized we can beat them."