Fairfield volleyball team takes down Darien
Just two days after its first defeat of 2013 -- in three sets against powerhouse Staples -- the Fairfield co-op boys volleyball team authored its most impressive win to date.
Keyed by Emilio Renzulli's 18 kills, 10 service points, nine digs and three aces, Fairfield blitzed Darien 3-0 (25-18, 25-16, 25-20) on Wednesday at Fairfield Warde High School.
"It was probably the toughest competition we've seen so far, besides Staples," Fairfield coach Garrett Covino said. "They have a lot of big athletes, and for us, we were executing our game plan better than we ever have."
Xander Gershberg chipped in four kills, three service points and two digs, and setter Alec Gropman had seven service points, 31 assists and four digs as Fairfield improved to 3-1.
"(Gropman) has been getting better and better as the season's gone on," Renzulli said. "I really loved his performance today."
Sean Lee led Darien with 19 assists, three service points and a kill. The Blue Wave fell to 2-4.
Fairfield took control from the outset thanks to Renzulli's serving. The senior's five-point service run helped Fairfield build a 13-8 advantage after the teams were tied at 8. Fairfield boosted that advantage to 19-11 and never looked back, taking the first game 25-18.
"We've been focusing on being in the right position," Covino said. "The kids are really doing well ... we're really focused and playing to our strengths."
Gropman's six-point service run boosted Fairfield to a 14-8 Game 2 lead after the teams had been tied at 8. Renzulli recorded seven kills in game two, and Brandon Lopes' kill clinched the second game, 25-16 for Fairfield.
"They're just refusing to let the ball hit the floor," Covino said. "If nothing else, it's frustrating for the other team."
Fairfield drew even at 10 then went ahead thanks to Chris Sanfilippo and Gropman's service runs. Fairfield gained seven of nine points, taking a 14-12 advantage.
The Blue Wave did not wilt in Game 3, even when Fairfield's advantage grew to 21-16. Phillips' four-point service run -- including an ace -- got Darien within 21-20.
"In game three, we were very passive," Covino said. "We just kind of backed off a little bit."
But Renzulli closed the match with a four-point run, aided by four Darien errors.
"We played hard," Lee said. "We got our blocks in, we just have to work on defense."
Fairfield 3, Darien 0
DARIEN 18 16 20-- 0
FAIRFIELD 25 25 25-- 3
Records: DHS 2-4; Fairfield 3-1; Darien: George Phillips three blocks, 13 kills, four aces, nine service points; Sean Lee 19 assists, three service points, one kill; Marcus Izqib three kills, five service points; Fairfield: Emilio Renzulli 18 kills, 10 service points, three aces, nine digs; Xander Gershberg four kills, three service points, two digs; Alec Gropman one kill, 31 assists, seven service points, four digs.