State Champs

Hawks win 3rd straight unified volleyball title

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The Bishop Hendricken unified volleyball team topped Portsmouth in the state championship last weekend at Johnson and Wales.

This is the third straight title for the Hawks, who have cemented their place as the premier unified volleyball program in the state.

The Hawks were excited to add another trophy to the Hendricken case.

“It feels great and we got to keep the streak of sports going,” said Jaiden Batista of the win.

“It is an amazing accomplishment winning the state championship three years in a row. I think it’s even extra special winning the title this season since we were awarded the National Banner of Inclusion from Special Olympics,” added Hendricken coach Allison Manning.

After a thrilling comeback win over North Kingstown in the semifinals, the stage got bigger and the lights got brighter at the state title game. However, the Hawks kept their composure, and put on one of their best performances of the season.

“We had a really close game against North Kingstown to get into the championship and had an amazing comeback to win. We really focused on playing our game and trusting each other to be in the correct position. It was a great team effort and team win,” said Manning.

The Hawks continued to improve steadily throughout the season, and worked on their volleyball skills and team chemistry.

“We did more work on skills such as rallies, and working together to build trust,” said Josh Tucker.

“We worked hard on sets, it’s very exciting,” added Mike Castelli.

The Hawks will be saying bye to a strong group of seniors, that have led the Hawks both on and off the court in multiple sports.

“We had a great bunch of seniors this year - seven seniors who played on the court and five seniors who were on the practice team. Many of them have participated in unified for three or four years. They have provided great leadership on and off the court and really helped contribute to our state title,” said Manning.

Stephen Baker echoed those sentiments.

“The seniors were really good and helpful. They were good leaders,” said Baker.

Although the Hawks will have a new look in 2019, they are confident that they will be able to pick up right where they left off, and will continue to work hard to get even better.

“We are losing some amazing seniors this year, but we will be looking to win the state championship for a fourth year in a row next season. We are really looking forward to our unified basketball season in the spring,” said Manning.

“We are going to do good next year. We will continue to work on three hits,” added Aidan Lawton.

Joe Godin was excited to get the win with his teammates, and show the state that anything is possible when working as a unit.

“It shows that we are one team and no matter what we can accomplish a lot of things,” said Godin. “We worked on building confidence and supporting one another.”

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