WEST WARWICK — The East Greenwich boys volleyball team didn’t bring it in the opening game and was blown out by West Warwick.
The Wizards made the same mistake as the Avengers in three of the next four games and found itself in the same position.
After losing the first game because they simply couldn’t pass the ball to setter Jesse Brown, the Avengers took advantage of a litany of West Warwick mistakes to take the next two games. The Wizards dominated the fourth game, but more mistakes cropped up in the fifth game of a 15-25, 25-16, 25-23, 15-25, 15-12 EG Division II-South victory.
“The thing that’s frustrating is that we didn’t make any adjustments until the fourth game,” West Warwick coach Mike Shunney said. “We missed way too many serves and we just gave it away, especially in the fifth game. I tried to explain to them we need to play like a team to win.”
“We tried to serve aggressively and stay within our offense,” East Greenwich coach Terri Garno said. “One of the things we like to do is run a quicker offense and we have a hard time doing that when the passes aren’t there. When the passes are there and we can run our system of play, it definitely works to our advantage.”
East Greenwich (6-3 II-South) was led by outside hitter
Patrick Wong, who 12 kills and 16 digs, and Brown, who had 20 assists. Garno pointed out how important the victory was in the division standings because the Wizards would’ve built a three-game lead on the Avengers with a win.
West Warwick (6-2 II-South) received 15 kills from senior right-side hitter Jesse Lawrence and nine kills from junior outside hitter Jon Menard. The defeat snaps West Warwick’s five match winning streak.
“In between games I told them that when we win we play like a team,” Shunney said. “Are we playing like a team because we are winning? We’re really not a team because when things go bad everyone starts turning on each other.”
The Wizards had all the momentum going into the fifth game after dominating the fourth game. Menard, who struggled in the third game, Lawrence and the Wizards jumped out to a 14-5 lead and never looked back. East Greenwich also aided in the cause, missing four serves late in the game.
East Greenwich looked to be in trouble, but the Wizards delivered three service errors in the first 14 points of the final game to keep the game tied at 7.
“One of the areas we are looking to grow in is to not let up in matches,” Garno said. “In the past we’ve had a tendency to do that for some reason. I think experience has something to do with it. We sometimes get to a point in a match where we are winning and we just stop. That has been where we are growing.”
East Greenwich then took advantage of West Warwick’s weakest rotation where both Lawrence and Menard are in the back row. The Avengers scored five straight points before Lawrence delivered a back-row kill.
West Warwick closed the gap to just two with setter Derek Johnson at the service line, but junior John Condon delivered a violent kill on match point to lead the Avengers to victory.
While Brown and Wong deserve plenty of credit for leading the Avengers to victory, Garno saved special praise for junior outside hitter Chris Sgrignari.
“I know he didn’t top us with kills or digs, but Chris Sgrignari has not played like that all season,” Garno said. “He really came up big for us tonight.”
The game the Wizards will rue is the third one. After the teams split a pair of lopsided games, West Warwick jumped out to a 10-7 lead in the middle game. Passing and hitting errors allowed East Greenwich to jump ahead 19-15.
The Wizards battled back to make it an one-point match and then the Wizards proceeded to commit three needless hitting errors which allowed EG to open up a 23-18 lead.
Lawrence stopped the bleeding with a kill and the Wizards were only down 24-23 after another kill, but a hitting error on game point handed EG the victory.