Co-op volleyball falls to Harding
The Fairfield boys volleyball team proved on Wednesday that it has not earned the right to underestimate opponents.
Harding dominated the first two games against the Mustangs, before Fairfield rallied, but lost 3-2 (25-16, 25-21, 20-25, 18-25, 15-4) on Wednesday afternoon at Harding High School.
"We took it too lightly," Fairfield coach Garrett Covino said. "We simply made too many errors today."
Sal Siciliano led the team with three service points, 22 kills and six blocks and Tom Chapdelaine recorded eight service points, 17 kills and two blocks as Fairfield lost for the first time in four matches to fall to 4-7 on the year.
Harding jumped out to a two point lead in every game, which forced Fairfield to play on its heels. Harding jumped out to a 9-1 lead in the fifth game, behind the serving of Jose Mateo, who recorded seven of his 20 service points in the final game and Eliud Mateo, as well, who recorded nine service points, 8 kills and eight digs.
"They took over the court," Covino said of the Mateos. "They kept the ball in play quite often."
Covino chastised his team's effort in the first two games, as Fairfield's mistakes and service errors cost the team 13 points in game two alone.
"We really hurt ourselves with missed serves," Covino said. "We just tried to do too much with [the ball]."
Fairfield's coach was also disappointed in his team's inability to use its substantial size advantage over the Presidents.
"We just did not block well today at all," Covino said. "We have a one foot height advantage over all the kids from Harding, and we just did not use that to our advantage with our blocking."
Game three appeared no different, as Mateo staked the team to a 4-1 advantage. However, Fairfield chipped away to get even at 18, and then outscored the Presidents 7-2 to clinch game three, 25-20.
"The reality of the situation came on us," Covino said. "We stepped it up and made Harding make the tough plays."
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Covino was pleased with the way his team played in game four, however, did fall behind 2-0 as Mateo earned points for his team. However, Chapdelaine notched five of his service points in the fourth game.
"We limited our errors, especially in game four," Covino said. "Our confidence was high, and it felt like everything was working for us because we weren't making errors."
Fairfield took on Barlow yesterday in a match completed too late for press time. If the Mustangs were victorious, they'd have to win three of their final six matches to qualify for the Class L state playoffs.
But Covino knows that his team did not do itself any favors by losing to Harding.
"We continue to dangle the idea of states, but they've got to earn it," Covino said. "We definitely just made the road more difficult for ourselves. If they're willing to do whatever it takes to get that win, we should be successful."