Ridgefield girls volleyball sweeps Stamford

Like a dubbed movie with a off-kilter soundtrack, Lidania Cibere's words didn't seem to match the action.

In an early season meeting that was a rematch of last year's Class LL state finals, the Ridgefield High girls volleyball team had just finished an impressive 3-0 sweep of host Stamford on Monday afternoon. But Cibere, Ridgefield's head coach, wasn't convinced about her team's performance.

"We really didn't play that well," said Cibere. "Our serve receive needs to improve. We were a little sloppy with that today."

Stamford might beg to differ. The Black Knights, who won the conference title and then beat Ridgefield, 3-1, in the Class LL championship match last fall, were mostly outclassed. Although 6'1" senior Andrea O'Connor had some thunderous kills, Stamford could not match Ridgefield's overall skill level and depth.

"We have a lot of strong players," said Ridgefield junior hitter Mackenzie Wanicka. "We really played today as a team and had lots of energy."

With the score tied 11-11 in the first game, Ridgefield's Caroline Curnal blasted a kill that put the visitors ahead to stay. Amanda Condron then went on a five-point service run — featuring another Curnal kill and a textbook dink by Olivia Lescinskas — to push Ridgefield's lead to 17-11.

One more sonic strike from Curnal closed out the 25-21 victory, putting the Tigers ahead, 1-0.

Led by O'Connor, Stamford opened a 10-3 lead in the second game. But Ridgefield rallied to pull even at 15-15 on Wanicka's kill, and several more ties ensued until two Stamford mis-hits helped the Tigers take the final two points and win the set, 26-24.

"We can come back from anything," said Condron. "That's what we've learned and that's what we're going to continue to do throughout the season."

Ridgefield then dominated the third game, opening a 15-6 lead when Lauren Thrasher faked a set and cleverly directed the ball over the net and onto the floor on the Stamford side. The Black Knights did come within four points at 17-13 before Ridgefield finished off the sweep with a 25-16 victory.

"I was happy with how we came back in the second set," said Cibere, whose team improved to 3-0 with its third triumph in four days. "We were down by a lot of points early and could have folded, but we didn't lose our composure. That was a good sign."

Notes: Curnal finished with 16 kills and seven digs for Ridgefield. Wanicka added 10 kills and six service points, and Alicia Hill had five kills. Thrasher, the Tigers' setter, contributed 32 assists, five service points (three aces) and two kills.

O'Connor paced Stamford (2-2) with 18 kills and three blocks.