The Bishop Hendricken Hawks edged the Cranston East Thunderbolts 3-2 during an electrifying Division I boys volleyball battle on Monday night at Cranston High School East.
Hendricken senior Zach Fraser topped the Hawks with 18 kills, including the game-winner in a decisive fifth set where Hendricken won 20-18.
“This was a tough match,” Hendricken head coach Mike Harrington said. “This was the best team we’ve played so far.”
Nate Bowe, a junior, helped control the Hendricken offense with 48 assists, while senior Robert Petrarca added 18 digs. The Hawks also received 19 kills from sophomore Dylan McClung.
Fraser and McClung towered over the opposition and Hendricken used that to their advantage.
“They’re going to get a lot of our kills this year for sure,” Harrington said. “Those guys offensively, are going to give a lot of teams trouble this year.”
The ‘Bolts were led by seniors Andrew Khvang, who recorded 20 kills, three aces and a dig, and Mason Paugh, who added 22 assists, two kills, and two digs.
The teams were tied at 23 in the opening set when Khvang scored on serve and put the ‘Bolts up one. Next, East junior Noah Berg struck with a kill and earned the ‘Bolts a 25-23 win of the set.
In the second game, the clubs were deadlocked at 22 before Hendricken recorded three straight points, two from Petrarca, and one from senior Jose Lamendola, while rolling to a 25-22 triumph and tying the match at one set apiece.
Hendricken took a 10-7 advantage midway through the third set when Bowe scored twice on serve, before McClung added a spike.
Next, Hendricken upped its margin to 14-10 when Fraser, Petrarca, and Brian Wojtyna all registered points.
But East inched within three when Paugh passed to Chea for a kill, which inched the ‘Bolts within three.
Nonetheless, East squandered an opportunity after that when senior Nick Yau committed a service error, which pushed the Hendricken lead back up to four.
Shortly after that, the Hawks doubled their cushion at 20-12 when Bowe and Wojtyna each assisted to McClung for a pair of thunderous spikes.
Though the ‘Bolts crawled back and cut the deficit in half when Khvang slammed in an ace and got East within 23-19.
But then, McClung smashed down a spike and earned the Hawks game-point at 24-20.
Hendricken capped the third set with a return from Bowe, which gave the Hawks a 25-20 victory, and a 2-1 lead in the match.
In the fourth set, East took a 13-12 lead after Paugh passed to Chea for a kill.
Then, Khvang and Reyle Dineen earned back-to-back blocks and extended the ‘Bolts advantage to 15-12.
East expanded its buffer to 20-15 when Chea earned a block on Cam Murray, before Dineen scored twice on serve.
Lastly, Khvang rocketed a spike into the campfire and gave the ‘Bolts a 25-21 victory in the fourth set, while tying the match at two, and forcing a critical fifth set.
There, Hendricken jumped out to an early 3-0 edge when Petrarca scored twice on serve and then, Lamendola added a shot into the campfire.
Next, Fraser scored with both a return and an ace and upped the Hendricken lead to 6-3.
Hendricken maintained that margin when McClung fired a spike into the middle and put the Hawks up 9-6.
Then, the Hawks extended their advantage to four when Fraser put a shot just out of the reach of East junior setter Matt Mellor, which made it 11-7.
Moments later, Lamendola rifled a spike past Khvang and after that, Fraser blocked Chea, which gave Hendricken a 13-8 cushion.
Next, the Hawks got to game-point at 14-9 when Chea endured a return error.
But East wasn’t ready to leave the gym.
The ‘Bolts rallied for five straight points after that and evened the set at 14.
That offensive explosion started with Khvang hammering a spike and then, Dineen and Colin Miller adding returns, which inched East within 14-12.
After that, Hendricken was whistled for a foul and then, McClung put a return into the net, which knotted the score at 14.
The teams tied four more times following that, and then, McClung gave the Hawks a 19-18 advantage via a spike.
Finally, Fraser finished the match with a game-winning kill from in front, which earned the Hawks a 20-18 victory.
On Tuesday, the Hawks hosted and beat North Kingstown 3-0, and currently hold a regular season record of 3-1. Hendricken plays next at Central on Monday at 6:30 pm.
Hendricken’s only loss came in five sets to Chariho and coach Harrington believes his team has what it takes to make a deep postseason run.
“We haven’t seen a team that we can’t beat yet,” Harrington said. “So, I think we’ll go far. Exactly where that leads us, we’ll have to wait and find out.”