WEST WARWICK- They came away victorious, which in the postseason is really all that matters, but West Warwick volleyball head coach Michael Shunney did not feel that his team played up to their potential on Wednesday. Fresh off a 3-0 sweep in the Preliminary Round of the playoffs over a struggling Mt. Hope squad, Shunney called into his team’s effort, which he felt was not up to par.

The Wizards dominated the opening game, taking it by a 25-11 count, but struggled in each of the next two, despite prevailing in both by 25-15 scores.

Billy-Rae Singpracha led the way with 10 kills and 7 aces on the night, while Jake Leander and Tyler Coburn each added 6 kills in the win.

For Shunney, whose team went 9-5 on the year, the 3-11 Huskies should not have been able to stick around as long as they did.

“I thought we played really well in the first game. We didn’t make a lot of errors and it just seemed like we decided that we weren’t going to play to that same level in Game 2 and even in Game 3,” he said.

Even more pressing for the Wizards is the fact that, with the win, they will be moving on to face a much stronger North Smithfield team on Thursday night on the road.

Shunney knows that Wednesday night’s performance will not cut it against the Northmen, a team they have yet to face on the year.

He hopes that his team’s complacency was just a onetime incident and not something that they will repeat.

“We need, obviously, more than just a couple of players to play. We’ve got to do a little bit better job defensively. Mt. Hope did not have a lot of offense and we weren’t great at stopping it anyway,” he said.

The Wizards erupted out of the gate in the opening game, jumping out to an early 6-1 lead, as the Huskies called timeout to slow the pace down. Mt. Hope showed brief glimmers of hope in the opening set, but could not string together more than two consecutive points in what looked to be an easy night for the home team. Three service errors by the Wizards kept the visitors within reach, until a 7-0 propelled them to the decisive 25-11 win.

The Wizards never trailed in the second game, but Mt. Hope appeared much more conformable, as they worked their way to within a single point at 14-13.

For Shunney, it was a matter of focus or lack thereof on his team’s behalf that allowed the score to be close, something he told them during a timeout.

“I hope it was just us being lazy and not a sign of things to come,” he said.

The Wizards would get their serve, as well as their confidence back, as they closed play out looking much stronger.

Singpracha was a key reason why the team was able to take a 2-0 lead.

“Billy’s serve was really on tonight, so that helped us out a lot,” Shunney said.

Jake Leander made up for a pervious error with a kill to make it 20-15, as it was the visitors this time calling a timeout, looking to regroup.

Once again, there would be no stopping the Wizards, as they closed out the second much like the first, going on an 8-0 run for a 25-15 final and 2-0 lead in the overall match.

The Huskies claimed the opening point of the third set on an ace by co-captain Graham White, giving them the lead for the first time on the night, but it would be short-lived, as the Wizards managed to get the job done.

West Warwick regained their aggressive nature as well, with Coburn, among others, willingly laying their bodies out on the floor in an effort to keep points alive.

To the Huskies’ credit, they did not go quietly in the final set, even tying the score 10-10 at one point, but West Warwick made sure nothing became of it, once again closing play out on a strong note. A kill by Leander capped 25-15 win for the 3-0 sweep, as the Wizards won each of the final half dozen points of the match.

Co-captain Tyler Coburn agreed with his coach’s assessment and said that the team as a whole will need to put forth a better effort against North Smithfield.

“It definitely needs to change because North Smithfield is a much tougher team than Mt. Hope. We don’t really know how North Smithfield plays either, so we’re just going to have to play our game and keep our passes as clean as possible to help our setters out. If we play our game, I think we should be fine,” he said.

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