WEST GREENWICH—The grass is green, the sky is blue and every year the Exeter-West Greenwich girls volleyball team makes it to the University of Rhode Island’s Keaney Gymnasium.
OK, maybe the last part of that statement isn’t a universal truth but it might as well be a given the way the Knights have played over the past four years.
The three-time defending Division II champs will once again take part in the final four as EWG rolled Cumberland 25-21, 25-18, 25-16 Tuesday night.
The Knights will now face Division II-North regular season champ Barrington today at 6 p.m. at Keaney.
“We feel good,” EWG coach Josh Bednarczyk said. “We always say we just have to worry about our side of the net.”
While the Eagles – who lost just one match during the regular season – should provide a tough challenge, the Knights were never really in danger of losing Tuesday against the Clippers after a slight scare in the first game.
In the opener EWG slowly distanced themselves from Cumberland, building a 16-9 advantage before the Clippers began to chip away.
Cumberland got within 17-13 before four straight Exeter errors on serve-receive allowed the Clippers to tie it at 17-all.
“We had a little run there in game one and had a big lead and then all of a sudden – I think it was like a six or seven point lead – we had a little trouble with serve-receive,” Bednarczyk said. “It got a little tight at the end there but then we just settled down.
“We were overpassing a lot. That’s what killed us in game one. We couldn’t keep a ball off the net and Cumberland did a good job of capitalizing on that.”
The Clippers even took a brief lead at 20-19 – quickly giving it back after serving long – before two aces from Jen Donnelly sandwiched around two kills from Jenna Bridges gave the Knights a commanding 24-20 lead.
After a nice kill from Cumberland on the ensuing rally Bridges ended the game with authority by pounding one into the floor.
From there the final two games followed almost exactly the same script; Cumberland taking an early lead before EWG kicked it into high gear for the easy win.
The Clippers went ahead 4-0 out of the gates in game two but Exeter responded with a 16-5 run to dash Cumberland’s hopes of taking the second game.
With the match well in hand for EWG the Knights and Clippers split the first 28 points in the third game before Exeter ended the match on an 11-2 run to shut the door.