Unbeaten Darien Blue Wave leads CT Volleyball Coaches Poll

Darien remains No. 1 and it is a unanimous No. 1 at that as the Blue Wave received all 14 first-place votes in the latest Connecticut High School Girls Volleyball Coaches Poll which was released Oct. 18.

The top-ranked Blue Wave and No. 2 Joel Barlow each had 12-0 records when the votes were cast. Darien received 280 polling points and Barlow got 212 while moving up one spot from the previous poll.

Conard (11-2) is ranked No. 3. Simsbury (13-1) and Southington (10-2) are tied for fourth.

RHAM (11-2) is No. 5 while Amity (13-1) and unbeaten Seymour (15-0) are ranked sixth and seventh, respectively.

Defending FCIAC and state Class LL champion Greenwich (10-3) is ranked eighth as the other FCIAC team in the top 10.

Cheshire (13-2) and Griswold (12-0) complete the top 10.

The FCIAC has five teams among the top 13 receiving polling points. New Canaan (9-2) received the 11th most points, Trumbull (9-5) had the 12th most, and Fairfield Ludlowe (9-4) got the 13th most. Also from the conference, Brien McMahon (7-7) received the 18th most polling points.

An example of the quality of the top handful of teams in the FCIAC would be a recent tough stretch by Greenwich.

Darien and Greenwich were ranked 1-2 in the previous state poll which was released on Oct. 12 as the Blue Wave received seven first-place votes and Greenwich’s Cardinal got three first-place votes in that first state poll of the season.

But Greenwich’s Cardinals had just begun a challenging part of their schedule at that point. After having won their first nine matches, the Cardinals lost three straight matches. They lost by the scores of 3-0 at Trumbull on Oct. 8 and 3-2 at home to New Canaan on Oct. 10.

Darien then exhibited its strength with a 3-0 victory at Greenwich by the scores of 25-14, 25-14, 25-11 on Oct. 12.

Three key reasons why Darien has been so strong this year are named Jillian Roche, Leilani Gillespie, and Aubrey Moore. Roche and Gillespie have excelled for a long while. Last year they were both selected to the 2021 All-FCIAC Girls Volleyball First Team when they were junior co-captains.

Roche and Gillespie are again a dominant tandem at the net this season. Roche had 17 kills, Gillespie had 16 kills, while Moore, a junior setter, had 35 assists and nine digs in that Oct. 12 victory at Greenwich.

Since that match, Darien and Greenwich have both won their latest three matches by shutout.

Darien improved to 14-0 overall and 11-0 in the FCIAC with a 3-0 victory at home Oct. 19 over a very good New Canaan team. The Blue Wave has not lost one set this year.

Greenwich’s Cardinals have rebounded nicely, culminating with their 3-0 victory Oct. 19 at Danbury which improved them to 12-3 overall and 8-3 in the FCIAC.

Greenwich won last year’s FCIAC championship with a 3-1 victory over Darien by the scores of 25-20, 25-21, 15-25, 25-22. Greenwich and Darien both advanced to that championship match with 3-0 semifinal victories – the Cardinals over Trumbull and the Blue Wave over Fairfield Ludlowe.

Darien, Greenwich, Trumbull and Ludlowe are all positioned well for a return to the conference tournament and Darien is in great position toward securing the No. 1 seed.

As of the games played through Oct. 19: Darien had that 11-0 conference record; Ludlowe was in second place at 9-2; New Canaan was 8-2; Greenwich, Trumbull, Westhill, and Wilton were all 8-3 and in a four-way tie for fourth place; Fairfield Warde was 7-4 in eighth place; and Staples was 5-6.

The 2022 FCIAC Girls Volleyball Tournament commences Nov. 1 with four quarterfinal games at the home courts of each of the four highest-seeded teams.

The Nov. 3 semifinals are scheduled for 5 o’clock and 7 o’clock at Fairfield Ludlowe. The highest remaining seed has the choice of game time.

Fairfield Ludlowe will also host the championship on Nov. 5, a Saturday, with the first serve scheduled for 3 p.m.

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