Striving for the consistency that can keep the Falcons in the top tier in the conference, the Fairfield Ludlowe girls volleyball team was sharp for the most part in sweeping past Brien McMahon 3-0 Monday afternoon at Ludlowe despite fine-tuning player rotations.
The Falcons beat the Senators in all three games of the FCIAC Central match, winning by 25-15, 25-21 and 25-11. Game 2 was tight, Game 3 not so much. The opener had a few swings of momentum.
Fairfield Ludlowe, FCIAC co-champions with Darien in 2012, improved to 2-0 on the season overall and in the conference, while McMahon dropped to 0-2 both overall and in the FCIAC.
The strides the Falcons have made in their first two matches are leading coach Meghan Skelton to believe her team might reestablish itself among the FCIAC's elite sooner in the season as opposed to later on. A continuation of building team cohesion will make attaining that consistency an easier and quicker task.
"We need to focus on consistency," Skelton said minutes after Game 3, the Falcons' best of the match, "but we're still figuring out who's going to be playing. It's hard to get that consistency and to get used to each other without a set lineup.
"But it's nice to have the luxury of having so many great players," Skelton said.
Against McMahon, which turned into a 17-13 lead for the Falcons in Game 1 before they closed it out with an 8-2 run, Ludlowe used its advantages in passing and communication to keep the Senators on their heels for long stretches.
There weren't many of those runs in the second game that started with the Falcons taking a 6-0 lead. McMahon pushed back after that. The Senators trailed by 20-18 before Ludlowe began to pull away. Junior Andrea Alvarez got hot serving for the Falcons once it was 23-20 and her teammates backed her up to finish off the game.
In Game 3, Ludlowe rode the momentum of ending the previous game well. Meanwhile, McMahon had trouble making an adjustment.
"We used a different lineup in the third game," McMahon coach Peter Georgioux said. "Olivia Sullivan started (the third game) out. She was being tended to for what we thought was an injury but wasn't. We erred on the side of caution. So we didn't have our libero, and that kind of fouled up our passing plan."
Despite the positive steps of her team, Skelton still saw some areas of concern. "We had too many lulls. There was a lack of communication, which leads to those lulls, which is detrimental. But we were passing a lot better than when we played Brideport Central (on Sept. 12).
"I'm just looking for that cohesiveness as a team," she said. "Putting it all together and acting as a team."
Junior middle blocker April Cooke had seven kills for Ludlowe and senior co-captain Pauline Blatt supplied seven assists. Senior co-captain Corinne Lang had six kills and five aces, senior co-captain Casey Boatwright had six kills and an ace and Alvarez had 10 assists.