Wave Volleyball Finishes Regular Season Flawless, Ready for Postseason


Darien Girls Volleyball team celebrating a point win (photo courtesy of DAF)

Braden Schenck, Writer

When Darien won their 3rd set against Fairfield Warde Thursday, the team continued their cinderella season. Darien finished the regular season at 18-0 and 15-0 in the conference. But what’s more impressive is the Wave are a combined 54-0 in sets this season.

Last year, a runner-up in the FCIAC championship to Greenwich and elimination in the State Semi-Finals is where Darien left it. This year, returning all but one player to the squad, the Wave was determined. Determined to beat Greenwich, determined to return to the FCIAC title match, and determined for a piece of hardware. The Girls’ Volleyball program has an astonishing 23 FCIAC titles and 17 state titles but has failed to win one since the 2014 season.

The 2022 edition of the Wave, led by senior captains Jillian Roche and Leilani Gillespie, has been swinging away at the net. Gillespie is leading the team with 201 kills this year and a .421 hitting percentage. Roche is second at 172 kills.

Darien then adds some key juniors to the cause with the twin dynamics of Aubrey and Ellie Moore. Aubrey has served 68 aces for the Wave this year and leads the team with 474 assists. All while, Ellie has racked up 58 kills on the season.

Sophomore standout Marin Black continues to overpower in the middle with 98 kills in her second year on the team and a team-leading .527 hitting percentage.

A big thing to watch for Darien is the libero position. Last year senior Julianna Han took the position and then handed the torch to junior Ayla Schenck. Schenck has played well this season with 154 serve receptions and 77 digs. She was the staple on the defensive efforts for Darien.

But an injury knocks Ayla out of the lineup and forces Darien’s hand. Senior Alexis Pensiero got the call from head coach Laurie LaRusso to start.

Pensiero has played each of the last 12 sets for the Wave with 25 digs on the season. This is a weak point on the Darien side, but the high-powered offense continues to keep them in matches.

Darien enters the FCIAC tournament ranked first in the conference. They will host 8th-seeded Fairfield Warde at the DHS Main Gym on Tuesday at 4 pm in the quarterfinals.

The Wave, having just beat the Mustangs on Thursday, know the Warde gameplay and looks to replicate their performance.

Thursday will be the big test for Darien assuming they win. They would have the winner of 4th-seeded Greenwich and 5th-seeded Fairfield Ludlowe. A down year for the Cardinals or a Fairfield Ludlowe team potentially playing at the “neutral site” Ludlowe in that potential semis matchup.

Trumbull and New Canaan enter the tournament as the two and three seeds respectively, and they are hungry to take down the Wave for the FCIAC title come Saturday at Fairfield Ludlowe.

Darien has not had a flawless season since 2014. And better yet, in 2009 and 2007, Darien did not drop a single set. So a lot is at stake as Darien now only sits three matches away from an FCIAC title as they start their march on Tuesday.