Darien snaps New Canaan volleyball’s win streak

New Canaan senior Josie Matyszewski keeps the ball in play during the Rams’ match against Darien on Monday in the NCHS gym. — Dave Stewart photo
So much had been going right for the New Canaan volleyball team lately that it was a bit strange seeing them on the losing end of a 3-0 match with rival Darien on Monday.
The Rams fell behind early in all three sets and although they made a few runs at the lead, including a furious rally in the second set, the Wave was able to fend off all challenges.
“We got ourselves in a hole and then we kept trying to close,” head coach Kevin Marino said. “We’d come back and then make a key mistake and take all the air out of any sort of comeback. To be honest, we just didn’t have it today. Darien doesn’t really make any mistakes and they blocked and played extremely good defense, so all credit to them for that.”
The loss snapped a four-match winning streak for New Canaan, which is 8-7 overall and 8-4 in the FCIAC, right in the thick of the conference playoff race.
Darien, meanwhile, has beaten nine straight FCIAC opponents and is 11-4 overall and 10-2 in the conference.
After taking the first set 25-21, Darien built a 24-17 advantage in the second set and was on the verge of putting it away when the Rams heated up, reeling off six straight points to close the gap to two points.
Wave senior co-captain Lindsay Bennett ended the threat with a perfectly-placed shot to the back corner as Darien won the set 25-23, and the Wave then closed out the match with a 25-15 decision in the third frame.
“We played them pretty well at times and definitely showed improvement from the first time we played them,” Marino said. “Every day is its own day. This time of the season it’s hard to find in sometimes. This is when the grind really starts to set in.”
New Canaan senior co-captain Emma Wheeler had a solid day with 14 assists, seven digs and one block, and senior co-captain Julia Salvatore collected five kills, 12 digs and one block.
Senior Josie Matyszewski collected six kills, three aces, and six digs; and Emily Johnson had 12 digs.
The Rams will quickly go back to work as each of their final four matches are against possible playoff teams. They’ll play at Ridgefield on Friday, host St. Joseph on Monday, and then play at Staples and Westhill to close out the regular season.
From Marino’s perspective, being in the playoff hunt is a great experience.
“We don’t talk about it too much, but they’re well aware of it,” the coach said. “It’s such a good experience. Our seniors have been there with what happened last year, but it’s great for our sophomores and juniors to get this in now and prepare for the future. I feel like this is the way it’s going to be for years to come.”
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