PROVIDENCE – The South Kingstown Rebels are the state champions in boys’ volleyball, after rallying several times from deficits in individual sets to beat the Bishop Hendricken Hawks 3-2 at the Providence Career and Technical Academy.
After taking the first game 25-21 and getting set point in the second, it looked like the Rebels had firm control of the state final. However, Hendricken rallied, turning away two set points for South Kingstown, and won the second 27-25.
Hendricken controlled almost all of the third set, despite a deceptive final score of 25-22. The Hawks lead by three to six points for most of the set.
However, South Kingstown rallied back in the fourth game, and controlled most of it. At one point, the Rebels led 20-13, and Hendricken only closed it to the final 25-21 margin with a late run.
The fifth and deciding game was full of gripping action, with the teams flip-flopping the lead and ties.
Hendricken led at 4-3, 5-4, 7-5, 8-6 and 9-7, but couldn’t put away the Rebels. South Kingstown finally took the lead at 10-9, but gave the next two points to Hendricken.
South Kingstown took a timeout, down 11-10. Hendricken scored the next point, but South Kingstown took the next four points to go up 14-12, on a combination of kills and errors by the Hawks.
Hendricken scored one more time, on a bad return by the Rebels, but on the ensuing Hawks’ serve South Kingstown set up an effective counterattack and scored on their first attempt, to take the set – and the state title – 15-13.
On the final play, Taylor Keith setup Ryan Casci for the final hit – his 30th kill, and the match-winner. See the attached video for this play, along with the end of the first and second sets, and a bit of the awards ceremony.
South Kingstown last won a state boys' volleyball championship in 2009. Last year, the Rebels lost to the Hawks, who were looking to win a third-straight title with a win in 2012. This is the third volleyball title for the Rebels, who had a perfect season in 2002.
According to records at Rhode Island High School Sports, this is the 52nd state championship for South Kingstown, and the 170th title if you include all divisions. South Kingstown is fourth in the state, behind Hendricken (276), La Salle (266) and Barrington (180). Classical is fifth with 126. Other local schools: North Kingstown (98), East Greenwich (83), Westerly (76), Chariho (28), Narragansett and Prout (27), and Exeter/West Greenwich (18).
Stats provided by the South Kingstown coaching staff.
Original article posted at 7:41 p.m. Thursday. Updated for the 6 a.m. Friday newsletter with a bit more information, and a longer video.
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