Greenwich volleyball comes up aces against Darien, wins 3-1

Greenwich High School's Mirei Kato, left, and Jessie Schelz attempt to block the Darien High shot during Wednesday's game at DHS. — Paul Silverfarb photo

Greenwich High School’s Mirei Kato, left, and Jessie Schelz attempt to block the Darien High shot during Wednesday’s game at DHS. — Paul Silverfarb photo

The Greenwich High School girls volleyball team traveled to Darien High School and came away with the thrilling 3-1 (25-21, 16-25, 25-12, 25-13) victory over the Blue Wave earlier today.

“We were able to put a little bit more on our serves and passing their serves,” Greenwich High School head coach Steve Lapham said. “I think once we got used to their serves, we did a better job passing. I thought Erin White played really well and Mirei (Kato) was great all over the court. Heather (Desino) came through with some big hits at the end and Jessie (Schelz) played great out of the middle. It was going to be a dog fight and we needed to win those long points. I thought we did that, especially going into that last set.”

The Greenwich High girls volleyball team upended Darien High School, 3-1. Paul Silverfarb photo

The Greenwich High girls volleyball team upended Darien High School, 3-1. — Paul Silverfarb photo

Big Red was led by Mirei Kato, who finished with 14 kills, three aces and 16 digs.

“It feels amazing right now,” Kato said. “It’s been a long time since we were able to beat Darien. Last year we lost to them three times, so we were definitely ready for this game.”

Heather Desino also had a stellar outing for Greenwich, as she finished with seven kills, four aces and six digs. Jessie Schelz added nine kills in the winning effort.

“It was really great to finally beat Darien,” Schelz said. “It was so great to come out right away and play well. I think we were able to not let the second set get to us and really came out and kept our composure. We didn’t let ourselves get too excited or hyped up. We fought really well and I’m really proud of us. I am really excited for the rest of the season. I’m just so happy that to win today.”

Catherine Cabano finished with four kills, while Erin White added 14 digs and two aces. Teammate  Xanthi Katsigiannis pitched in with 26 assists, while Ashley Rispolo netted a team-high 17 digs.

The turnaround happened between the second and third sets.

“It was a serving game and we lost that second game,” Lapham said. “We didn’t serve them. We started going for blocks and weren’t getting touches. So we eased off on the blocking and we dropped Xanti (Katsigiannis) back a little bit. We ended up covering a little more of the court. I think it was the fact that we put the pressure, with our serve, on them, like they have done to us every single time we played them.”

After falling behind 10-2 and eventually falling 16-25 in the second, the Lady Cardinals came out more focused than ever and cruised to a 25-12 victory in the third set.

“We knew they were going to come out even stronger than before and knew that we had to get on them right away,” Schelz said. “We needed to get our serves in and passes up. I think we really did that well in the third and fourth sets.”

Greenwich High head coach Steve Lapham addresses his team during Wednesday afternoon's game at Darien High School Paul Silverfarb photo

Greenwich High head coach Steve Lapham addresses his team during Wednesday afternoon’s game at Darien High School — Paul Silverfarb photo

Kato believes that the main difference between the two sets was in Greenwich’s mental game.

“Darien is certainly a solid team, but I thought we were definitely capable of winning,” Kato said. “I think, towards the end, we were mentally tough. We have a lot of tough games coming up, so we need to take care of every game one at a time. Staying mentally tough will definitely go a long way to make our team successful for the rest of the season.”

With the victory, Greenwich upped its overall record to 11-1 and 11-0 in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference. Darien fell to 11-1 in the conference.

“We want to set that standard where we could keep up with Darien and everybody else in the league every time we come out to play,” Lapham said. “We have a strong team and I think today they showed some real courage. There were times today where we got a little rattled, but I think the seniors pulled it together.”

 

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