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A highly competitive team in a highly competitive division, the East Greenwich High School girls volleyball team faired well in their first regular season playing in Division II last fall. They posted a 15-3 record, lost fewer games than any other team in the division (16) and ended in a five-way tie for the divisionâ€™s best record.
Seeded third headed into the playoffs, the Avengers made a run to the semifinals, where the magic of 2012 ran out and they were swept by eventual state champion Exeter-West Greenwich. A disappointing end to an otherwise brilliant season.
Redemption, however, is on the not too distant horizon for East Greenwich girls volleyball. Well in the midst of their preseason, the Avengers are less than a week away from their season opener on September 3. With the majority of the 2012 squad returning, having lost just Julia Pelosi and Lauren Duvall to graduation last spring, this year could be even better than the last and EG is eagerly anticipating getting things going.
â€śSo far, so good. We have a lot of really devoted, really hard working kids. Iâ€™m looking forward to the season,â€ť said East Greenwich coach Terri Garno. â€śIâ€™m very much looking forward to seeing what they can do and playoffs are definitely part of our goal this year.
â€śâ€¦I think weâ€™re all really, really excited, but we also know we have a lot of work to do.â€ť
Despite the potential that comes with returning a number of key players from a first place squad â€“ player like libero Stephanie Field, setter Phoebe Wong and middles Kristin Carosotto and Joya Pelosi â€“ Garno is not ready to anoint EG champions just yet as there is plenty for her team to still work on in the coming weeks as the season gets going.
With the preseason emergence of Carosotto and Pelosi, Eastâ€™s strength this fall will be up the middle, but Wong, considered amongst best in the state, and her abilities as setter should be able to help the Avengers strengthen and diverse their attack. Their ability to get that attack going, however, is an area they will be focusing on improving this season.
â€śServe receptionâ€¦ Serve reception. Serve reception. Serve reception,â€ť said Garno. â€śI think serve reception is everybodyâ€™s Achillesâ€™ Heel, so thatâ€™s where weâ€™re going to start our work and once we can progress beyond that, then weâ€™ll work towards running our quicker offense, but we have to get that passing in check first.â€ť
With work still to be done and a long season ahead of them, Garno and the Avengers are doing what they can to keep improving through the early portions of their schedule and do their best to focus on each match as it comes. That is not stopping the team, however, from keeping its goals set high for this season.
â€śIâ€™m looking for us to build on what we put together in the past and advance,â€ť Garno said. â€śThe girls, they tied for first in the regular season last year and thatâ€™s obviously something they would like to decisively get this year, but thereâ€™s a lot of time between now and then.
â€śI hate to say where I want to end up at the end of the season, but I know the kids want to play into the playoffs. They want be here, in the court, working as long as weâ€™re capable of doing so.â€ť
The Avengersâ€™ pursuit officially begins with a pair of matches next week. They will travel to Warwick Vets next Tuesday, September 3, for their season opener, and then host Pilgrim in their home opener on Friday, September 6. Start times for the matches are 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., respectively.