The Staples High School boys volleyball team learned that there is a first time for everything. The Wreckers had always dominated Darien for years, never allowing the Blue Wave to take more than one set in the program's history. Just two sets into Friday's match, the Blue Wave had snapped that streak, taking a commanding 2-0 match lead.
Despite rebounding in the third set, Staples' long stranglehold on Darien finally gave way. Darien dominated the fourth set to stun the eight-time state champion Wreckers for the first time in program history, 3-1 (25-19, 25-17, 22-25, 25-20).
"Darien played really well. It just wasn't our day today," Staples head coach John Sherpo said. "They had some fantastic kills today and we just couldn't get ours."
Darien jumped out to a 21-12 lead in the deciding set, but Staples kept the larger-than-normal crowd on the edge of their seats. Staples managed to cut Darien's lead to three at one point, but the Blue Wave would not be denied. Matt Lee perfectly set up Calder Billhard, who faked out Staples with a gentle tap over the net instead of a spike. Staples was caught off guard and the match belonged to Darien at long last
Darien's trio of Billhard, Austin Cockerill, and Lee dominated the action on the Blue Wave side of the net. Cockerill had 14 kills while Billhard had 10. Lee racked up 14 digs.
John Aelyon led Staples with 12 kills, while Andreas Bub collected seven.
"They're a great team. This isn't really an upset today," Sherpo said. "They're a top-of-the-conference team. This won't bother us too much."
Staples will try to bounce back on Monday when they travel to St. Joseph for a 4 p.m. game.
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