Archive - Aug 29, 2013 - Sports Article
As the Narragansett girls volleyball team can certainly attest, the road to the Division II Championship goes through Exeter-West Greenwich.
The Knights soundly beat the Mariners 25-12, 25-11, 25-10 in the quarterfinals last season en route to their third D-II title in a row and should once again be the team to beat with one the stateâ€™s best hitters in Jennifer Donnelly back this season.
Itâ€™s a new season with a new coach for the Mariners though, and theyâ€™re hoping with the fresh start comes better results.
Where have all the Carla Porrasâ€™ gone?
The days of Jackie Iannucci, Katie Riley, Dolci Wagner and all the players that helped lead the Narragansett girls soccer team to back-to-back Division III Championships have gone and past as only a handful of players remain that had significant roles on those title teams.
Donâ€™t shed a tear for the Mariners though, because they certainly arenâ€™t.
The Prout girls soccer team returned to practice last week, coming into the 2013 season after a reasonably successful 2012.
The Crusaders finished near the top of the standings at 8-5-1, just their third season in Division I, and advanced to the quarterfinals.
Though there were significant losses from the graduation of players like Shannon Mis and Ashley DiClemente, much of the same is to be expected out of Prout this season.
The end of the 2012 season did not come without its fair share of drama for the South Kingstown girls soccer team.
The Rebels finished the regular season near the top of the standings, tying rival North Kingstown for third at 8-2-4, but were unsure of what to expect come the postseason.
South Kingstown went on to post back-to-back shootout wins over Barrington in the quarterfinals and LaSalle in the semifinals to earn a berth in the RIIL Division I Championship match against Smithfield. It was another tight battle, but ultimately the Rebels fell to the Sentinels 2-1.
All it takes is one look at the South Kingstown girls volleyball team to tell that theyâ€™re in store for a better season this fall.
Last year the Rebels struggled â€“ mightily at times â€“ en route to a 3-13 record but with a team loaded with size and athleticism SK should be in store for a bounce back season.
â€śI think weâ€™re going to be pretty good,â€ť SK coach Chris Fagan says. â€śHopefully.â€ť
â€śCoventryâ€™s going to be tough again and I think we should be right in the mix just seeing from who graduated last year. Middle of the pack, hopefully the upper pack.â€ť
The success of the Prout girls volleyball team is long standing and well known throughout the stateâ€™s volleyball circuit.
Since 2005, Prout has been on an astronomic rise from Division III to Division I, never losing more than four games in a season for a combined regular season record of 117-9, including four perfect seasons, six division titles and a run of seven straight state championships that lasted from 2004 to 2010.
A potent offense and a strong defense propelled the Coventry Babe Ruth 13-year-old all-star team to the state and New England titles.
The team reached Thursdayâ€™s World Series semifinal against Lawrenceburg, Tenn. using the same formula, but Coventryâ€™s offense and defense struggled in the most important game of the summer.
COVENTRY â€” Motivation was never an issue for last yearâ€™s Coventry girls volleyball.
Coming into the season the Oakers were motivated to prove they were good enough to wear the same uniform as the 2011 state champions. And they became even more motivated to win a title after tough defeats to East Providence and Prout late in the regular season.
Sam Higgins, Jill Ward and the Oakers carried that motivation all the way to a state-title sweep of East Providence.
So, what is motivating a group of girls who have been to the mountain top to do it all again this year?
Replacing a player like Maddie Damm is never easy.
If a team was ever prepared to absorb such a hit though, it might this seasonâ€™s North Kingstown girls soccer team.
Damm â€“ who is entering her freshman year playing soccer at Syracuse University â€“ was invaluable for the Skippers in the midfield last fall but with 10 seniors and five juniors suiting up for NK this season North should have enough collectively to remain very competitive in Division I.
The beauty and cruelty of high school sports lays in its cyclical nature.
Last seasonâ€™s Division III Championship was four years in the making for the Exeter-West Greenwich boys soccer team as the Knights finally sealed the deal after two straight losses in the finals.
Now, a new chapter has undoubtedly begun as EWG moves on without the 14 seniors that helped lead the team to D-III title.