Townies take aim at improved girls' volleyball results

EPHS opens 2021 season with a win

By Mike Rego
Posted 9/13/21

EAST PROVIDENCE — Coming off a 1-8 record last season played in the spring instead of its usual fall spot on the calendar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the East Providence High School …

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Townies take aim at improved girls' volleyball results

EPHS opens 2021 season with a win

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — Coming off a 1-8 record last season played in the spring instead of its usual fall spot on the calendar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the East Providence High School girls’ volleyball began its 2021 Division I campaign last week in search of a return to the league playoffs.

“They’re very together, a very tight group. They work hard, everyone is pushing for each other, trying to be supportive. So, that’s been very good at the start of the season,” said EPHS head coach Alex Butler, assisted once again this fall by Dan Cabral.

“I just think we’re a well-rounded group,” Butler continued. “We’re not going to overpower people, offensively. Our service game has been pretty solid. Defensively, it’s coming. But I would say we’re just a very evenly balanced team.”

The Townies won their opening league contest in Woonsocket last week, a 3-1 decision over Mount St. Charles. EPHS took the match by the scores of 25-16, 21-25, 25-17 and 25-21. Seniors Sophia Patterson and Hayley Lonergan were solid defensively in the outing according to Butler.

While making the transition into the new EPHS building and gymnasium, the Townies are also making a significant change on the floor: going from their traditional 5-1 alignment to a 6-2 with a pair of setters on the court at all times for the first season in at least five.

“You’ve got to put your best players on the floor in those positions,” Butler said of the different formation. “It’s an advantage because when you run a 6-2 the setter is always in the back row and you always have three clear attackers as opposed to two plus the setter. And that part’s been good.

Senior Katherine Whitaker and junior Emma Nordquist hold down the setting spots. Senior Desiree Fernandes is back at the right-side hitting position as is junior Brookelyn Feola on the opposite side. Junior Ryleigh Grant is new to the middle hitter spot. Patterson is also an opposite side hitter.

“Nothing is set in stone,” Butler cautioned. “We have a group that we’re working with right now. It’s a little different because we’re playing 6-2. But as we know, things change and things can change in a hurry when things are going right or we need to make adjustments.”

Also in the mix meaningful minutes on the varsity roster are: seniors Elke Jones (outside/right side), Lonergan (libero) and Brie Riel (right side); juniors Keira Quadros (opposite) and Julia Williamson (defensive specialist); and sophomore Ella DeCosta (outside).

“The beginning of the season is always about passing, defense and serving. Because if you can’t get the ball in the court, you can’t score. So, that’s No. 1,” Butler said of his squad, in general. “And I’ve also been keying on the communication amongst each other because we have a lot of new people on the floor in new areas.

“This team to me is a playoff team if people are playing to their capability and we’re allowing ourselves to play to our potential.”

The Townies return to league play Monday evening, Sept. 13, when they host rival LaSalle at 6:30.

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Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.