Through a game and a half in the Staples girls volleyball team’s showdown with Ludlowe on Thursday, it appeared the Wreckers were ready to make the leap back into the elite of the FCIAC where they had spent so long prior to 2014.

The Falcons had other ideas, though, and rallied to secure a 3-1 (19-25, 26-24, 25-22, 25-23) win in an action-packed matchup at Ludlowe High School.

Staples held a 20-15 lead in the second game with a 2-0 lead in sight, but a new-look Falcons (1-1) team led by Alex McKinnon (nine kills) and Alice Nelson (29 digs) stepped up their defense and saved a number of points that turned the tide for good.

“We had to just slow down, focus and be in the moment,” said Ludlowe coach Meghan Skelton. “We were thinking about what we had to do next; we had to slow it down and take it one point at a time. When they started doing that they got confidence.

It was a matchup between two perennially strong programs, but entirely new teams. The Wreckers are completely turned over from their run to the FCIAC and Class LL final in 2013, and Ludlowe - which fell 3-0 to Greenwich in its season opener - graduated six seniors from its memorable 20-4 season in 2014.

Staples took advantage of a mistake-filled first game to win it 25-19, and used that momentum to get out to a commanding lead in the second. The Falcons were able to find the switch and McKinnon had a pair of kills in the rally - including one when Ludlowe faced match point at 24-23.

“It’s a totally different team,” Skelton said. “We’re still finding ourselves; there are moments of brilliance and moments of (struggling).”

The contest remained tight in the third and fourth games with one team unable to shake the other. The Wreckers led 20-18 in the third game before another Ludlowe comeback, and the fourth game was tied at 23-23 before a pair of errors clinched the match.

“I think we let this game get away for sure,” Staples coach Jon Shepro said. “I think we had a lot of errors in big spots; they’re going to get their kills and they’re a very good team but our serve-receive was pretty bad we were unable to get our offense going at all.”

The Wreckers entered the match on the back of two wins to start the season, including an impressive 3-2 win over Barlow.

“I really thought that was going to jump-start us,” Shepro said. “We were a different team today than we were against Barlow. We had a good offensive showing; today we didn’t have that.”

Ludlowe 3, Staples 1

STAPLES 25 24 22 23 — 1

LUDLOWE 19 26 25 25 — 3

Records: Staples (2-1); Ludlowe (1-1).

Highlights: S — Reece Schachne eight kils, three blocks; Maya Lawande 20 assists; L — Alex McKinnon five service points, nine kills and seven digs; Alice Nelson six aces, 16 service points and 29 digs.