By Elizabeth F. McNamara; photos by Chuck Nadeau (CN Photography)
The EGHS Girls Volleyball team seemed to channel the New England Patriots with a nail-biter of a win over Lincoln for the Division II state championship Saturday afternoon at Rhode Island College. It was deja vu all over again for the team, which dropped the first two sets to Lincoln just as they had to Classical in the semifinal match days ago, just to come back strong with three straight sets to win it 3-2.
“This is amazing, to win in the fashion they did,” said Coach Justin Amaral. “The girls never gave up all season. Twice we had our backs against the wall, in the semifinals and the finals and the girls never gave up. They said, ‘You know what, Coach, we’re going to play hard. We’re going to give it all we’ve got.'”
He added, “It’s such a momentum game and I think they settled down, they got used to it. In game three, I told them, I said, “Listen girls, it’s their game, they’ve got to win it. The pressure’s on the other team. They’ve got to seal the deal. We’re just out here playing volleyball.”
EG and Lincoln played twice in the regular season, splitting the matches. Lincoln ran up the score in the first game and EG couldn’t catch up, losing 25-15. The second game was tighter, but still EG was missing blocks and hitting the ball out, losing 25-19.
The Avengers found their game in the third set, with middle hitter Hope Votta bringing the ball down hard and tight and setting Jules Abella able to get the ball to front line. EG won the third set, 25-18, and kept up the pressure in the fourth set, with a 25-19 win over Lincoln.
EG came out strong in the fifth set and it looked like a done deal, with a 14-9 score, when the Lions buckled down and won the next 4 points. With the score 14-13 and Lincoln with the serve, a kill from middle hitter Courtney Wegrzyn ended the game and gave the Avengers a state championship.
“We really bounced back after those first two sets. Especially being my last high school game ever, it’s so amazing,” said Votta afterwards. “We had to make sure we played as a team and clear our minds of everything bad going and just think about the positives.”
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The 2018 Division II EGHS Girls Volleyball team:
5 Jordan Bean RS
6 Jules Abella Setter
7 Rachel Rowey OH
10 Sydney Fay OH
11 Ava L’Europa DS
15 Courtney Wegrzyn MH
17 Viviann Goulet OH
18 Hannah Casper DS
25 Lili Bootmann MH
26 Hope Votta MH
27 Hallie Comer Setter
35 Sophie Johnson Libero
Head Coach Justin Amaral
Asst. Coach Donovan Baker
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