WOOD RIVER JUNCTION – Chariho’s boys volleyball team was right in the mix of the Division I playoff hunt entering Mother’s Day weekend, and they blasted into the next week as one of the emergent threats after knocking off the top team.
Charger head coach Michelle Cunningham-Joost was relieved with Friday night’s 3-0 home sweep over rebuilding Mount St. Charles. As the Chargers have at times made things interesting, needing exciting comebacks and rallies in sets to rack up what was a just above .500 record entering Friday.
“It was kind of nice to stay up,” Cunningham-Joost said. “Though, we started some of the games a little slow. They figured ita out.”
“We’re kind of hit or miss sometimes,” Cunningham-Joost said. “The team that showed up against [the Mounties] wasn’t the same team that showed up three weeks ago. We’re trying to get them into the right mindset to just play volleyball.”
It’s a crowded time of the season for many interscholastic athletes as playoff games, finals, and collegiate prep compete for attention.
“We’ve got five seniors on the floor,” Cunningham-Joost continued. “And seniors have a lot going on between graduation and exams coming up. I’d be brain tired after that so I can understand.”
“We got a lot of junior players into the game,” Cunningham-Joost said. “I played [sophomore] Jackson Beaudreau in the first match. Then I played [junior] Shawn Eddy-Joost in the second game as the middle. [Andrew Poirier] went in and set in the last game. Everybody got some significant playing time, and they all did well. It was nice to get those guys in there because they’ve practiced with us all season and it’s good to give them some playing time.”
Cunningham-Joost mixed her younger players into the flow of all three sets, and while the Mounties got the score somewhat close at points in multiple games, the Chargers were always in control, winning 25-16, 25-12 and 25-16.
Senior Shea Jackson kept on his toes, leading the way with 24 digs. Junior Nate Felicetti had 11 kills, and senior Tom Hingerty kept the offense flowing with 23 assists.
After Friday’s win, the Chargers were in a three-way tie at 7-5. They’ve since shaken up their own place in the standings and moved to 8-6.
On Monday, the feisty Chargers broke up a 1-1 tie to win 3-1, giving Coventry their first loss on the year. It wasn’t a game they were necessarily expected to win, but it was the type of win to show the rest of the league that they mean business.
Senior Lawson Laurent and Felicetti tied for the team lead with 14 kills. Laurent added nine blocks, stuffing the Oakers vaunted attack at the net. Hingerty kept the hitters in the mix with 33 assists.
The Chargers came out with the 25-22 game one win before Coventry came back with a 25-19 victory. The Chargers took the next two, 25-17 and 25-23.
At 8-5, the Chargers are only one win away from last season. They are on pace to eclipse 2017’s 10-8 record, the best they’ve had since 2010’s DI runners-up campaign of 11-3.
Chariho goes on the road to take on East Providence (0-13) in what should be another win in the final game this week. Then they’re then off until Monday when they’ll have a test against second-place North Kingstown (10-3), who previously swept them, 3-0, in mid-April. On Wednesday, May 22, the Chargers have a rematch with Cranston East (8-5), who beat them 3-2 in late April. A win over the Falcons would be crucial, as they are currently tied in the standings and would then be also tied head-to-head. A win over the Skippers would put them in another category.
They finish up with South Kingstown (4-9) at home and Central (4-9) on the road. They beat both teams previously with 3-0 scores.