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All it takes is one look at the South Kingstown girls volleyball team to tell that theyâre 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.
âI think weâre going to be pretty good,â SK coach Chris Fagan says. âHopefully.â
âCoventryâs 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
Thereâs no doubt that that the Oakers are the early favorites to win their third straight Division I Championship this fall with players like middle hitter Sam Higgins and outside hitter Jill Ward back for another go around.
South still has a long way to go to get to where Coventry is but one thing the Rebels certainly have going for them is theyâll have the type of block capable of neutralizing the stateâs better hitters.
âWeâve got taller people, weâve got taller outside hitters and weâve got a pretty good blocking team in my opinion but weâll see,â Fagan says.
âThe twins [Kristin and Jackie Karpowicz] are blocking pretty good. Theyâre the best blockers right now along with Steph [Laraway] but Iâm moving her to outside hitter. Last year she was more of a middle hitter.â
Between seniors Mariclaire Gulla, Olivia Finnegan, Laraway and the Karpowicz twins the Rebels have five varsity ready players each close to 6-feet tall or greater and Fagan is not ready to rule out the possibility of playing them all together in a five-one rotation.
âWeâre running a five-one right now with Emily [Taylor setting] and sheâs kind of short but she can actually hit pretty good too,â Fagan says. âIt looks like weâll have a big front row always except one rotation.â
Of course itâs still extremely early in the season and the Rebelsâ lineup is very much open to change but on paper SK should find itself in the top half of the division at seasonâs end and certainly better than 3-13.
If South Kingstown is going to bump up into the category of contender, however, it is going to have to get better in the passing game.
âOur weakest part of our team is probably going to be passing,â Fagan says, âso weâre going to work on that.â
The Rebels could have a team full of 7-footers but if they canât serve-receive consistently they wonât be going anywhere this season.
At this point in the season though, there is still plenty of time to get better and SK wonât have to wait long to see how far off it truly is.
The Rebels will face off against Prout â last seasonâs regular season Division I-South champ â Friday at 6:30 p.m. in an Injury Fund game and will open the season at home Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. against the aforementioned Oakers.