After dropping to D2 from D1 over the offseason, the Cranston West boys volleyball team has been on a mission in 2019 to prove to the state that they are still among the top clubs despite the move.
The Falcons have jumped out to a hot start this year, carrying a 9-1 record into the week and topping some of the best teams in D2 in the process, including 3-0 sweeps of Pilgrim and Classical.
“I think that we’re just playing well as a team. Everybody knows their roles and we’re trying to get better every day. We have three great senior captains in Garrett Doidge, Matt Tortolani and Virak Pond-Tor. We have returning players in Nick Estrella, Ryan Chmura. We have a sophomore setter stepping up in Ryan Tocco, we also have Ryan Floyd who is a first-year starter,” said West coach Roger Tow.
Part of the team’s preparation for the season came in the form of preseason tournaments, many of which included top-tier teams from Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Tow believes that the exposure of high-level competition has paid dividends to this point in the year.
“We ended our preseason with a tournament in New Bedford where we played against D1 Massachusetts teams, we played at the Rhody Invitational where we took on D1 teams from around here like Hendricken. We tried to face that higher level of competition,” said Tow.
The Falcons also have some added motivation this year, as they want to prove that the move to D2 had nothing to do with their skill … rather, just the numbers.
“We had some pretty high expectations since we dropped down from D1 this year. We feel that we have something to prove because we would have liked to have stayed in D1. We want to prove that we’re a D1 team playing in D2. They welcome the pressure, they have a chip on their shoulder,” said Tow, who believes that the squad will be tested in the second half of the regular season. “We hope (to continue the success), we hope to have some alumni come down to help us out at practice. We have a big match coming up against East Greenwich in a few weeks. We need to make sure that we’re focused and ready for it.”