The Bishop Hendricken volleyball team’s cinderalla run came to an end on Sunday afternoon, as it fell 3-0 to top-seeded Coventry in the Division I State Championship at Johnson and Wales.
The Hawks, who finished the regular season at 10-8 and with the sixth seed, upset No. 3 La Salle in the quarterfinals, then topped No. 2 North Kingstown in the semis on Friday.
However, the Oakers were simply too much as they cruised to the 3-0 win by scores of 25-15, 25-15, 25-19.
“That team is amazing, they’re so physical and so strong and they have players at every position. Our goal tonight was to hang on as best as we could and see if we could steal some sets late in the game. Unfortunately things didn’t go our way and that lead was a little too much for us to overcome. We had our moments at times throughout the match, but just weren’t able to match their power offense,” said Hendricken coach Mike Harrington.
The two clubs battled in the early going, and the Oakers jumped out to a 7-6 lead in the first set. They would then catch fire and cruise to win the opening round.
Coventry would start the second set with an 8-3 lead, and the Hawks called a timeout to regroup. Although they were able to keep pace for the remainder of the set, they could not close the gap enough. The Oakers continued to control the pace in the third and held off a late Hendricken rally to clinch the title.
“There was not one thing. They’re just so consistent with their offense, they rarely free ball it over to us, there is always power, that makes it tough for any team to produce consistently,” said Harrington. “We have some great players too and were able to hang for a bit in the first two sets, but that third set, they earned it.”
Harrington was proud of his team’s effort throughout the year, especially during the unlikely postseason run.
“It’s awesome. We went 10-8 this year and had a losing record to playoff teams. We came out and we outplayed La Salle who beat us twice, we beat North Kingstown who was really expecting to get to this match, those two playoff wins say a lot about our character and how tough we are. We just ran into a bigger, stronger team,” said Harrington. “(The playoff run) was definitely mental, it was confidence. La Salle and North were equally or maybe even more talented that we were, but they found a way to win those matches and to get here tonight.”
The Hawks will now look to 2020, and expect to once again be competing for a state title. Hendricken will be returning the majority of it’s group, including guys such as Nathan Bowe and Brian Wojtyna.
“We have a lot of important guys coming back next year, and this is huge for them,” said Harrington. “Playoff wins mean something.”