The Patriots swept the Westerly Bulldogs 3-0 (25-14), (25-12), (25-15) in boys Division II volleyball on Monday night at Pilgrim High School.
Senior middle hitter Nick Jaggi led the Pats with eight kills and four blocks, while junior outside hitter Cam Woodbury added eight kills and three aces.
“Cam’s been playing well on the outside,” Pilgrim head coach Michael McGiveron said. “He’s been filling in for Dave (D’Andrea). He’s just a very consistent player. I know exactly what I’m going to get out of Cam.”
“Nick Jaggi, same thing,” McGiveron added. “He’s been playing for me for a while and he’s been putting up a great block. They have great chemistry.”
Other key players for Pilgrim included Max Caracuzzo, a senior setter, who compiled 27 assists and two aces, Brandon Yang, a senior defensive specialist, who added 14 digs and six aces, and Ethan Laramee, a junior outside hitter, who chipped in seven kills.
“Max is a good setter,” McGiveron said. “When he’s on, and he’s active and he’s communicating, he’s probably one of the best setters in D-II I believe. He was Second-team All-Division last year. So, he’s building on it.”
Pilgrim drew an 8-5 lead in the opening set when Woodbury smacked three straight aces.
The Pats upped their advantage to 16-10 midway through the set after an ace from Yang and kills from both Laramee and Woodbury.
Then, Pilgrim went up 20-12 when Woodbury and Laramee scored with back-to-back spikes.
Westerly mustered just two more points in the set and Pilgrim closed it out with a spike from Laramee, a kill from Jaggi, and a point from Robert Schmitt on serve, which gave Pilgrim the 25-14 victory.
Pilgrim opened up a 4-1 advantage in the second set when Laramee smacked two aces, and then both Jaggi and Woodbury followed with returns.
After that, Westerly’s Jawarie Hamelin scored with a kill and cut the deficit in half.
But then, Pilgrim went on a tear, and grabbed seven of the next eight points on three aces from Yang, plus a kill each from Laramee and Woodbury while building an 11-3 cushion.
A little later in the set, Pilgrim’s Caracuzzo hammered down an ace before assisting to Laramee for a spike, and that put the Pats up 18-5.
Pilgrim finished the second set at 25-12 following a kill from Jaggi, a return from Jason Petrozzi, and a spike from Woodbury.
The Pats got off to a slow start in the third set, where Westerly jumped out to an 11-3 advantage early, but midway through the set, the Pats got hot and scored ten straight points and took a 13-11 lead. That streak started and ended with returns from Laramee.
Moments later, Yang added two points on serve, and then, Laramee followed with a return, and that put the Pats up 16-13.
Shortly after, Laramee earned a kill, and then Jaggi added a spike, plus a return, which extended the Pilgrim edge to 19-14.
Westerly scored one last time after that when Hamelin scored with a kill, but then it was all Pilgrim.
Jaggi laid down a hammer spike, which jumpstarted a 10-0 Pilgrim run. During that run, Schmitt scored four times on serve, as Pilgrim rolled to a 25-15 triumph.
With the win, Pilgrim improved its D-II record to 8-2.
While the Pats got the sweep, coach McGiveron feels his team has yet to reach its peak.
“We haven’t been playing that great lately,” McGiveron said. “We’ve had injuries, and I’ve been trying to figure out this lineup, but once we solidify, I think we’ll be one of the top teams in the state and hopefully we can compete for a state title.”
McGiveron says that he is still trying to work out some kinks with his team as the season progresses.
“I’m still trying to find that optimized lineup where I get the maximized value of my team,” McGiveron said. “And there’s still a lot to be determined in terms of roles on this team. But I’m just trying to make sure that these guys come to practice every day really challenging for playing time, because if you practice better, you play better. So, if there’s competition involved, I feel like it’s all for the best.”
And thus far, McGiveron likes what he’s seen.
“We’re getting better and better,” McGiveron said. “It’s just as long as we keep the communication part of it up, I think we can minimize these unforced errors and kind of take advantage of some of these other teams.”
Also, McGiveron anticipates D’Andrea, who has been out the past two weeks with a high ankle sprain, will be back soon.
“We’re hoping to get him back for the later part of this week or early next week,” McGiveron said. “We have a big match against East Greenwich (8-0) coming up on Monday, which hopefully we can get healthy for that and really play our best volleyball from that point forward.”
The Pats traveled to Westerly (1-9) for a rematch on Tuesday, but the score was unavailable at press time. Pilgrim hosts North Smithfield (7-5) today at 6:30 p.m.