NEW CANAAN -- Needing a win over New Canaan to keep its FCIAC tournament hopes, the Fairfield Warde girls volleyball team did not get the result it was after in Game 1.
But the Mustangs rebounded in the subsequent three.
Warde took the final three games, led by Katilin McKenna's two blocks, 11 kills and four service points, as the Mustangs bested the Rams 3-1 on Wednesday.
"This is big," Warde coach Matt Narwold said. "I told the girls on the bus ride `we need to win the game and that's all that matters right now.' "
The Mustangs remained in a tie for eighth place at 10-7 thanks to the victory. Warde needs to beat Norwalk on Friday and have Westhill lose to St. Joseph to claim the FCIAC's No. 8 seed.
"If things fall in our favor, we could be looking at an FCIAC spot," Narwold said.
New Canaan fell to 8-9. Annie Conover recorded six service points, two aces, 10 kills and 16 digs to lead the Rams. New Canaan was eliminated from FCIAC contention with the loss.
"Warde was out for blood today," Rams coach Katie Campbell said. "They truly played very well."
New Canaan opened game one on fire, using the positive energy from its senior night to build a 10-5 advantage. Senior Emma Stracke's two aces keyed the run. Stracke finished with six service points, 12 kills a block and 11 digs as well.
"I think (senior night) helped pump up our girls," Campbell said. "They're a lively bunch, so they didn't need a whole lot more to get them going."
"In Game 1, we started really slow," Narwold said. "This gym's a tough environment."
The Rams advantage peaked at 17-9. The Mustangs crept back to within 24-23, but a net violation gave New Canaan Game 1, 25-23.
The Mustangs controlled play from there, using size on their front line -- McKenna, Walsh and Kenzie Burns -- to gain offensive advantages.
"(McKenna) is playing good, and Leah Walsh isn't making mistakes and is putting balls away," Narwold said. "She had a great game too."
Fernandes' five-point service run allowed Warde to builed a 15-9 lead. The senior also capped game two with an ace.
McKenna's serving was problematic for New Canaan in game three as the Mustangs built a 7-3 lead. Warde progressively built its lead in game three, taking advantage of 10 New Canaan unforced errors.
"It just wasn't our day today," Campbell said. "We knew it would be a fight, we brought our game, it just wasn't enough today."
Catie Keegan's kill capped game three, 25-16.
The Mustangs gained a 18-9 lead in game four, but the Rams re-gained momentum, thanks to Stracke's service run, cutting Warde's edge to 18-12.
After a serve into the net, Warde's lead was 22-15, but Conover's three-point service run, keyed by her two kills and an ace, got New Canaan within 22-18. The Rams battled back to 24-21, but Keegan's kill clinched game four, 25-21.
"I did not doubt we could come back," Campbell said. "We just dug ourself too big of a hole to get out of."
"There was a little anxiety," Narwold said. "I just didn't want to go to a game five."
Warde 3, New Canaan 1
WARDE 23 25 25 25--1
NEW CANAAN 25 16 17 21--3
Records: FW 10-7, NC 8-9; Highlights: FW--Kaitlin McKenna (2 blocks, 11 kills, 4 service points), Tatiana Fernandes (30 digs, 7 service points, 2 aces), Leah Walsh (8 digs, 8 kills, 6 service points, 4 aces); NC--Annie Conover (6 service points, 2 aces, 10 kills, 16 digs), Emma Stracke (6 service points, 2 aces, 12 kills, 1 block, 11 digs), Kristin Cowley (2 kills, 18 digs), Isabelle Herde (3 service points, 1 ace, 4 kills, 4 digs).