Staples edges Ridgefield, 3-2, in boys volleyball state finals
Despite a valiant comeback effort, the Ridgefield High boys volleyball team fell to top-seed Staples, 3-2, in the Class L state championship match Thursday night at Shelton High School.
The Wreckers prevailed by scored of 25-16, 26-24, 22-25, 20-25, and 15-13 over third-seed Ridgefield, which ended the year with a 21-4 record.
All four of the Tigers' losses this season were to Staples, which finished undefeated at 25-0.
But after falling 3-0 to the Wreckers twice during the regular season and in the FCIAC finals, Ridgefield gave Staples its toughest match of the year in the Class L title match. After spotting the Wreckers a 2-0 lead, Ridgefield won the next two games to force a winner-take-all fifth game.
“I am so proud of them,” said Ridgefield head coach Lidania Cibere. “Obviously, I’m sad we lost but I’m not disappointed. I’m really proud of them digging deep to get to a fifth set.
“We’re sad that we lost but we’re more sad and disappointed that we don’t get to play another day and the season’s over,” added Cibere.
Staples led most of the way in the fifth game, but the Tigers did pull even at 11-11 on a block by Thomas Groves and then went ahead 12-11 on a Staples hit out of bounds. The Wreckers got the next three points and, after Ridgefield staved off defeat with a point, a kill by Stedman van Arsdale ended the match.
After Staples cruised to a 25-16 victory in the opening game, the Tigers were within one point of evening the match when they took a 24-22 lead in the second game. But the Wreckers got timely blocks and kills from David Kalinowski to win the last four points for a two games to none lead.
Game three was tight throughout. The Wreckers opened a 19-16 lead and appeared on the verge of a sweep, but the Tigers got the next four points, culminating with a Staples hit out of bounds.
The Wreckers went ahead 21-20, but back-to-back kills by Christian DeVivo gave the Tigers the lead again, and Ridgefield then closed out the 25-22 triumph.
In game four, the Tigers jumped out to a 5-0 lead and went in front by as many as seven points before the Wreckers chipped away and pulled within 15-14.
Chris Knachel and DeVivo responded with kills for a 17-14 Ridgefield advantage, which rose to five points, at 21-16, on an Andrew Knachel kill. Two late-game spikes by DeVivo and an errant Staples hit sealed the Tigers' 25-20 victory and tied the match, forcing the fifth game.
In his final high school contest, DeVivo was a one-man wrecking crew for Ridgefield. He finished with 42 kills to go along with 13 digs and eight service points.
Chris Knachel added 11 kills 12 digs and 16 service points and Will Hunter contributed 15 digs. Groves had eight service points, and Eric von Recklinghausen tallied 13 digs and a trio of service points.
Setter Andrew Knachel had 57 assists, 10 digs and eight service points, while Shane Meyer added three digs and six service points.
.“We’re sad that we lost but we’re more sad and disappointed that we don’t get to play another day and the season’s over,” the coach added.
Christopher Knachel finished with 11 kills 12 digs and 16 service points. William Hunter racked up 15 digs. Groves had eight service points. Eric von Recklinghausen tallied 13 digs and a trio of service points.
Andrew Knachel set up his teammates with 57 assists and added 10 digs and eight service points. Shane Meyer had three digs and six service points.