St. Joseph volleyball blanks Bassick High 3-0, moves to 4-0 overall

Although the St. Joseph High School boys volleyball team was playing winless Bassick High School, there were times during the contest where it was the Lions that were getting the better of the Cadets.

However, St. Joe's settled down when it needed to and came away with the 3-0 (25-12, 25-21, 25-13) victory Monday afternoon to continue the strong start to the season.

"When we are fired up, we certainly play a lot better," St. Joseph head coach Martin Dempsey said. "We had a bye Friday night and I thought we came out a little flat today. When these guys are playing together, communicating with each other and playing as a team, they play really well. When it's quiet and we lose our momentum, things kind of fall apart."

Leading the way was Kevin Stapleton, who finished with 17 kills and three aces. Not to be outdone was Erik Lewicki, who added 14 assists and nine kills.

"Kevin is a four-year players and Erik is a three-year player," Dempsey said. "They have a lot of experience and play club volleyball in the offseason. They are the cornerstones."

For the Lions, Shane Hendricks led the way with two kills and three digs, while Hector Romero added one ace and three digs.

"It felt really good," senior Marc Mrozek said. "We have a tough schedule coming up, so it's good to get a victory today and get some momentum going for next week. Momentum is big for this team. For this game it was big because you get a lot of points generated off of momentum alone. When we get fired up, this team plays really well."

While the Cadets came away with the 3-0 victory Monday afternoon, it wasn't as easy as it appeared. In the second game, St. Joseph was trailing Bassick 15-10 and actually were tied late in the contest before coming away with the four-point win.

"It was silent on our side of the floor and we found ourselves trailing most of the second game," Dempsey said. "Hat's off to Bassick. They are missing a lot of their starters and it could have been a much different match if they played their full varsity squad. We called a timeout and I told them that considering Bassick is basically throwing out their JV team to us, this doesn't bode well for us. I told them to pick up our pace and play a lot better than we were playing and they responded to that."

With the victory, the Cadets moved to 4-0 overall and are having the start of the season that the team was hoping for.

"Our hitting is really good and we have good passing, but we definitely need to work on staying fired up," Mrozek said. "It's really important in this game. A lot of times we get flat and that's when we don't do as well. If we could stay on our game and fired up, we can be a really good team."

However, next week things get a little tougher, as St. Joseph plays Darien, Fairfield, New Canaan and Danbury.

"We are going to see what this team is made of very soon," Dempsey said. "We are halfway to a state tournament berth and that's always our goal, but this year I think this team is more ambitious. They aren't looking just to make the state tournament. They want to make the tournament and then some. Hopefully we will accomplish that this year."

The dynamic duo of Stapleton and Lewicki certainly helped St. Joe's get to its perfect mark on the season. However there were others along the way that logged key minutes for the team.

"Marc Mrozek is only a second-year player and stepped in last year and started varsity," Dempsey said. "He's picked up his game this year. He's setting half a rotation for us, playing front row and doing a great job for us. Juniors Matt Reis and Joe Lucy have done a wonderful job passing in the back row and playing defense. Charles Wade is the most vocal leader on the court and get everybody going. All those guys are stepping up and filling those extra roles that we need them to do."