PAWTUCKET—The East Greenwich girls volleyball team will be returning to the University of Rhode Island’s Keaney Gymnasium this fall.
After opening the Division II playoff with a convincing sweep of Tiverton, the Avengers punched their ticket to URI with a 25-15, 25-18, 25-20 victory over Tolman on Tuesday.
“They came out strong tonight,” EG coach Terri Garno said. “The first two sets we were up probably eight to 10 points from the get go.”
After convincingly taking the first two games, the Avengers ran into a bit of trouble in the third as the Tigers built a 16-10 lead.
Facing the proposition of playing a fourth game everything clicked for EG as the visiting Avengers outscored Tolman 15-5 down the stretch to close out the match.
Midway through the season East Greenwich hit a roadblock when it came to serving but Tuesday night it was a strength for the Avengers as Spencer Taylor, Phoebe Wong and Lauren Keenan combined for 12 of the team’s 15 aces.
Interestingly enough, Tuesday’s match played out almost exactly the same as Friday’s playoff opener at home against the Tigers.
The first two games against Tiverton were never close; EG opened on a 10-1 run en route to a 25-16 win in game one and in game two the Avs once again raced out to a 10-1 advantage before closing it out 25-10.
Much like it was Tuesday night, the Avengers struggled early in the third game as Tiverton opened up a 10-5 lead before East Greenwich came back to tie it at 12-all. From there East score 13 of the game’s next 19 points to close out the match with a 25-18 win.
As the season has gone along the Avengers have drastically improved and it has been a direct result of their work at both the jayvee and varsity levels.
Keenan was one of four late-season call-ups – along with fellow sophomores Elise Warren, Lauren Chapski and Tara Watters – that have made a significant impact with the varsity and it’s of little coincidence the Avengers have improved their passing and serving with the additions from the jayvee.
Coupled with the development of Taylor, sophomore Kristin Carosotto, juniors Jenna and Joya Pelosi – in addition to the call-ups – the Avengers have become a very dangerous team with Wong calling the shots at setter.
“They go out and play,” Garno said. “There are no nerves and they are pushing the varsity because they know there’s a sub on the bench.”
Up next for the Avengers, however, will be a task no team in D-II has yet to accomplish: beat Narragansett.
The Mariners ran the table during the regular season but started sluggish in their playoff opener against Central Falls Tuesday night before regaining their mojo in a 18-25, 25-17, 25-12, 25-16 win.
“At this point in the playoffs anything can happen,” Garno said. “Everyone’s 0-0 in playoffs but we expect they’re going to come at us very hard. We’re just going to play our game.
“I’m satisfied with the way our kids are playing and I’m looking forward to facing Narragansett.”
The Avengers and Mariners will face off at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at URI in the second game of a D-II semifinals double header with D-II North regular season champ Barrington taking on D-II South runner-up Exeter-West Greenwich in the opener at 6 p.m.