It wasn’t the start anyone would hope for, but the Warwick Vets girls’ volleyball team at least has an excuse for how the season opener went on Tuesday night.
The ’Canes were thrown right into the fire.
Playing East Greenwich – a team that made the playoffs last year in Division I before dropping down to D-II this year – an inexperienced Vets team looked nervous in the early going and dropped game one 25-4.
From there on out it was better, but still not on par with what the Avengers had to offer. In the end, East Greenwich walked away with a comfortable 3-0 victory and the ’Canes got a glimpse of what they’ll have to aspire to if they want to contend.
“I want my girls to see that that’s what they need to strive for,” Vets head coach Jean McGarry said. “It is difficult to open with a team like that, but in a way it’s going to get them prepared for what’s ahead of them this season.”
Right from the early going, it was pretty clear that Vets was in for an eye-opening experience.
EG went up 3-0, lost a point, and then won the next 17 in consecutively. When Vets finally won another point, it had used two timeouts and the score was 20-2.
Julia Pelosi served 16 consecutive times for the Avengers, and game one was over almost as soon as it began. Vets won two consecutive points at 24-2 to get back to 24-4 before EG closed it out.
“They have to understand, ‘You didn’t earn any points in that game, and that’s unacceptable,’” McGarry said.
The second game featured a more relaxed Vets team, but it was still no match for EG’s all-around skill.
The Avengers went up 5-0, which included two aces from Phoebe Wong.
The lead stretched from a five-point advantage to a seven-point lead at 10-3 and an eight-point lead at 14-6.
That soon became 21-9, with Lauren Duvall throwing in two consecutive aces for EG to up the lead to 12.
Vets picked up its final point of the game on the next point thanks to an EG hitting error, before being closed out 25-10.
The first two games featured constant substitutions for McGarry, and the rotating door of players may have added to the ’Canes early struggles.
But it was with the long term in mind, as McGarry is still in search of the right lineup to help get her team reach its potential.
“All of that is just going to come with trying to find who’s comfortable with who and what the best combination of players who complement each other,” McGarry said.
In the third game, Vets played its most consistent volleyball of the night.
It went up 1-0 on a strong serve from Amanda Graves and led by two points on five different occasions. A big hit by Sarah Farrell put the ’Canes up 4-2, and an EG service error made it 5-3 in favor of Vets.
Another strong shot from Farrell made it 7-5, and the score was 8-6 after Vets withstood a long back-and-forth rally.
“We held them point for point for a while, and that’s progress,” McGarry said.
Vets kept it close all the way to 11-11, but East Greenwich wouldn’t be denied. It took control from that point on, following a timeout. Out of the timeout, the Avengers won the next six points to go up 17-11. Pelosi picked up a kill and Wong served consistently until a service error finally gave the ball back to Vets.
However, the deficit was too great. East Greenwich continued to get closer and closer to victory, while the ’Canes couldn’t keep up their high level of play.
The Avengers never led by fewer than six the rest of the way, winning 25-15 to sweep the match.
“I think we would have had first match jitters no matter what,” McGarry said. “I do have two sophomores playing in some pretty substantial positions, and I’m not unhappy at all with what they’re doing right now. I think they’re doing a good job with what they’re bringing to the court, and they’ll only get better from there.”
Vets won’t have very much time to regroup, as it’s back on the court again today when it travels to West Warwick for a 6 p.m. match.
The Wizards were 12-2 last season.