Skippers drop a heartbreaker to Hendricken
The Bishop Hendricken boys' volleyball team is undefeated this season, but on Friday night they traveled to North Kingstown and it looked as though the Skippers were going to hand them their first loss.
"It was a tough loss because the kids really thought that they were going to win," coach Joanne Fitts said.
Both teams looked evenly matched in game one. North never trailed by more than three points and tied the game six different times.
They finally pulled ahead permanently when a Michael Fanning outside hit brought the score to 19- 18. A back row attack by Dan Cahill, a tip by Fanning and a double block by Fanning and Dan Tisser accounted for three of the final six points and gave the Skippers the win in game one.
Game two started solid, with Mike Bessette scoring three straight blocking points for the Skippers. Hendricken was not having success with their jump serve early on, but started to hit their mark half way through the game and jumped to a 19-14 lead over the Skippers. NK was able to pull within two points, but a Hendricken timeout allowed the Hawks to ice a Skipper run and take game two, 25-20 to even the match 1-1.
Fitts said two things her team is working on are to improve on passing and serve receiving. The Skippers struggled to communicate with each other in game three and quickly found themselves down by eight points.
"We have the ability to pass, but it is a concentration issue. Passing is an attitude, actually," the coach said. "We were having difficulty receiving the serve so then we would have to rely on a good dig to get us out of it."
The Skippers were unable to overcome the deficit and lost game three 25-17.
The fourth game of the contest was where the home team's strengths really shined.
"We have a powerful offense and are really strong in blocking and hitting this year, and that is what we did well in game four," Fitts said.
The Skippers scored early and often and even a Hendricken timeout with the score 8-1 could not stop North's rally. Aaron Hall- Stinson hit two consecutive spikes, which eluded Hendricken blockers and North cruised to a 25-14 win.
"We really had the momentum going and the kids played well," Fitts said. "When we play like that we can beat anybody."
Communication problems once again plagued the Skippers early in game five. Jeff Siatti made one save when the Skippers were down 6-1, but a mishandled ball cost the Skippers the point.
They were able to rally, but the effort came too late in the short game.
"We sort of lost our brains at the beginning of that game and our emotion went the other way," Fitts said, adding, "You can't afford to do that in a 15-point game."
The coach said that after the loss, practices have centered around passing and serve receiving and she sees improvement already.
Junior Jon-Michael Degidio, a Jamestown resident and last year's junior varsity captain, received praise from the coach.
"JM is a great kid and he has such a good attitude," she said, adding, "It is hard for the juniors this year because they work hard all week at practice and don't always get a lot of playing time because we have six seniors on the team, but he always gives his all no matter what."
The team is currently 8-5 and in a three-way tie for third place with East Providence and Chariho.
"Despite a couple of tough losses, we have had a really good season. Our focus over the next three weeks is to strengthen those areas that need it and get ready for the playoffs," Fitts concluded. "The kids are really starting to believe that they can go all the way and I think we are peaking at the right time."
They will host Cranston East at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, May 14, and travel to Cranston West on Wednesday, May 16, at 6:30 p.m.