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Staples Boys V-Ball Falls in State Final

A 101-game winning streak came to a close on Friday night for Staples boys volleyball as the Wreckers lost to No. 2 Southington (10-25, 28-26, 25-23, 19-125, 15-11) in their bid for a fifth-straight Class L State Championship.

Staples (19-1) had not lost a match since 2006 and had won eight out of the past nine state championships it played in.

The Wreckers defeated Southington to win their past three titles.

At the start of the match it appeared it was going to be a fourth victory for Staples, but Southington (19-1) overcame a 25-10 loss in the first game to win the second game 28-26, the third game 25-23 and the final game 15-11 in front of a loud crowd at Conard High School in West Hartford. Staples did win the fourth game 25-19 to push the match into a deciding fifth game.

"Those were two very qualified teams out there. We had to keep coming back after losing the second game," said Staples head coach Bruce Betts. "We kept battling back but we just couldn't get there. Like in the fifth game, it was just a well played game [by Southington]."

Betts credited tournament Most Valuable Player Brendan Charamut of Southington, who had 29 kills and 12 blocks, for being a dominant force the Wreckers had not seen all season long.

Staples was led by senior Tom Prenderville, who had 24 kills, four blocks, 10 digs and six service points. Fellow senior Mike Fitzgerald had 21 assists, 10 kills, four blocks, seven service points and 17 digs. Evan Gaumert, also a senior added 10 kills.

The trio was part of three state championships and after the match, Gaumert said the Wreckers would be back.

"I think we easily could have played the way we did in the first game. We kind of shut down. They were beatable, we just didn't play our best ball tonight," Gaumert said. "The juniors, sophomores, freshmen, they will be back and I am 100 percent certain they'll avenge our lose. Wait for another 100 straight wins, it had to happen sometime, but Staples isn't done."

Gaumet did concede that Staples may have become overconfident after the dominant first game victory. Southington coach Lou Gianacopolos said after the game that his team fed off of the confidence of Staples and did not let it get to them, instead using it to their advantage.

Staples did win the FCIAC championship earlier this season for an eighth straight time, but Betts said while he hoped for a win, the loss will be a positive for boys volleyball in Connecticut.

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