By Eliot Schickler

There's no place like home for the Staples girls volleyball team.

Sixth-seeded Staples raised its record to 18-3, 11-0 at home in its last home game of the season with a 3-1 (26-24, 22-25, 25-18, 25-17) home victory over 11th-seeded New Canaan in (what probably is) its last home game of the season.

"It's very emotional because I played here for four years and it's great to win my last home game here," Lady Wreckers senior captain Joosje Grevers said. "It's bittersweet."

Staples coach Jon Shepro said, "We're proud of it. We don't want to lose here and we want to have a `not in our house' mentality. Today is another example of how we fight through adversity."

New Canaan ended its season at 16-6 and left Westport with its heads held high. The Lady Rams didn't make it easy for the Lady Wreckers and fought back from a 14-6 deficit in the first game and took a 22-20 lead. New Canaan junior Taylor Copeland-York served five straight points, three aces, to give her team a 21-19 lead.

However, Staples, who trailed 24-22, fought back with senior middle hitter Augie Gradoux-Matt delivering two straight kills to tie it, the second during senior captain Anna Link's serve. Link closed out the game with two straight serves.

Despite falling short in the first game, The Lady Rams reclaimed the momentum in the second game and jumped out to a 17-11 lead. New Canaan senior captain setter Kellen Tensen was masterful in setting up senior captain Andrea Mullaney, who pounded home the ball with authority.

Staples fought back and closed it to 23-22 but junior Isabelle Herde's block on classmate Anne Conover's serve clinched the set and knotted the match.

"We had a very nice game and played mentally tough," Lady Rams coach Katie Watson said. "We knew Staples was a good team with good middles and blockers. We came out with tenacity. Even though they are big, we fought for it."

The Lady Wreckers came back with senior setter Dani Kosinski deftly setting up Grevers, Gradoux-Matt, Link and senior captain Kenzie Roof for kills. Link also came up with clutch serves, delivering four straight points, two aces, to give Staples an 8-3 lead in the third game and five straight points, including three straight aces, to give it an 8-5 lead in the fourth, an advantage it never relinquished.

"It was one of my better serving games and I'm happy with it," Link said. "I tried to stay focused and hit my spots."

Senior Amanda Pacilio had two aces to extend the Lady Wreckers' lead to 24-16. Link forced an error to end it.

"This was an amazing year and we turned around the program," Mullaney said.