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PAWTUCKETâ€”The East Greenwich girls volleyball team will be returning to the University of Rhode Islandâ€™s Keaney Gymnasium this fall.
After opening the Division II playoff with a convincing sweep of Tiverton, the Avengers punched their ticket to URI with a 25-15, 25-18, 25-20 victory over Tolman on Tuesday.
â€śThey came out strong tonight,â€ť EG coach Terri Garno said. â€śThe first two sets we were up probably eight to 10 points from the get go.â€ť
After convincingly taking the first two games, the Avengers ran into a bit of trouble in the third as the Tigers built a 16-10 lead.
Facing the proposition of playing a fourth game everything clicked for EG as the visiting Avengers outscored Tolman 15-5 down the stretch to close out the match.
Midway through the season East Greenwich hit a roadblock when it came to serving but Tuesday night it was a strength for the Avengers as Spencer Taylor, Phoebe Wong and Lauren Keenan combined for 12 of the teamâ€™s 15 aces.
Interestingly enough, Tuesdayâ€™s match played out almost exactly the same as Fridayâ€™s playoff opener at home against the Tigers.
The first two games against Tiverton were never close; EG opened on a 10-1 run en route to a 25-16 win in game one and in game two the Avs once again raced out to a 10-1 advantage before closing it out 25-10.
Much like it was Tuesday night, the Avengers struggled early in the third game as Tiverton opened up a 10-5 lead before East Greenwich came back to tie it at 12-all. From there East score 13 of the gameâ€™s next 19 points to close out the match with a 25-18 win.
As the season has gone along the Avengers have drastically improved and it has been a direct result of their work at both the jayvee and varsity levels.
Keenan was one of four late-season call-ups â€“ along with fellow sophomores Elise Warren, Lauren Chapski and Tara Watters â€“ that have made a significant impact with the varsity and itâ€™s of little coincidence the Avengers have improved their passing and serving with the additions from the jayvee.
Coupled with the development of Taylor, sophomore Kristin Carosotto, juniors Jenna and Joya Pelosi â€“ in addition to the call-ups â€“ the Avengers have become a very dangerous team with Wong calling the shots at setter.
â€śThey go out and play,â€ť Garno said. â€śThere are no nerves and they are pushing the varsity because they know thereâ€™s a sub on the bench.â€ť
Up next for the Avengers, however, will be a task no team in D-II has yet to accomplish: beat Narragansett.
The Mariners ran the table during the regular season but started sluggish in their playoff opener against Central Falls Tuesday night before regaining their mojo in a 18-25, 25-17, 25-12, 25-16 win.
â€śAt this point in the playoffs anything can happen,â€ť Garno said. â€śEveryoneâ€™s 0-0 in playoffs but we expect theyâ€™re going to come at us very hard. Weâ€™re just going to play our game.
â€śIâ€™m satisfied with the way our kids are playing and Iâ€™m looking forward to facing Narragansett.â€ť
The Avengers and Mariners will face off at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at URI in the second game of a D-II semifinals double header with D-II North regular season champ Barrington taking on D-II South runner-up Exeter-West Greenwich in the opener at 6 p.m.