Fairfield Warde spikers drop decision to Trumbull High

No one would have blamed Matt Narwold if he walked off the court following last week’s match against Trumbull in a very foul mood.
With three tough matchups among its final four games, the Fairfield Warde girls volleyball team needed a win in the worst way if it hoped to earn a spot in the FCIAC playoffs.
Watching Trumbull stave off two set points in the fourth set to pull out a 3-1 victory should have done the trick.
But the head coach of the Mustangs still managed to smile afterwards.
Led by the play of sophomore middle hitter Nicole Vacarella, who collected 13 kills and five blocks, the Mustangs battled from start to finish in a match that easily could have gone the other way.
Trumbull won the first set 26-24. Warde came back to win the second, 28-26. Trumbull won the third, 25-15 and had leads of 14-3 and 19-9 in the fourth. Warde (9-6) could have gone away quietly, but decided to fight, tying the game 20-20 before earning set points at 24-22 and 25-24. Only the resolve of Trumbull (9-5) kept the Mustangs from coming all the way back.
The Eagles pulled out a 28-25 victory in the fourth and deciding set.
“We made a great comeback in that fourth set and I’m just really proud of the way we played,” Narwold said. “It would have been nice to walk away with a victory, but this was a small victory within itself.
“To come back from such a huge deficit in the fourth set, it speaks a lot about what we can do as a team.”
Warde was solid at the net behind the playoff Vacarella, senior Hannah Wolf (five kills, one block, 12 service points) and junior Jenny Schneider (six kills).
Junior setter Kiera McNeil collected 20 assists and junior libero Allison Whitlock helped spark a strong defensive effort.
Both teams were playing their second match in two days. Trumbull was also missing two starters, one of which suffered a concussion against Harding.
Warde was coming off a big 3-0 win against Wilton on Tuesday. With three of the four sets going into extra points, the youthful Mustangs just ran out of gas in the end.
Warde, which went into the game in seventh place in the FCIAC standings, had a freshman and two sophomores in the regular rotation.
“We came in with some momentum. We came in big. We came in strong,” Narwold said. “But volleyball is a game of momentum, and for most of the game they had it. Our girls knew how important this game was, but my senior captain (Sam Ferleger) said it best afterwards when she said, you know what? We still have a lot to do.”
If Warde hopes to reach the FCIAC playoffs, it’ll have to come up with a couple of upsets in its final games. The Mustangs still had the toughest part of their schedule coming up with matches against Darien, Fairfield Ludlowe and St. Joseph, the top three teams in the conference.
“We’re also playing our crosstown rival Ludlowe on their court on Senior Night,” Narwold said. “But we played well today, so we just have to keep our momentum going.”
Trumbull led 20-13 in the first set but Warde came back to tie it 21-21 and had the ball in its hands up 23-21 before the Eagles pulled it out. The Mustangs came back to win the second set after fighting off set points down 24-22 and 26-25. Wolf ended it with a kill from deep in the center of the court.
Trumbull won the third set handily and looked like it would cruise to victory in the fourth, but Warde didn’t go down without a fight.
“It was a battle,” Trumbull head coach Tamara DeBerry said. “Fairfield Warde is always one of those teams that gives us a battle despite our records, despite our players. They always show up to play us. It was a great effort on their behalf.”

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