EPHS girls' spikers welcome two legends back for new gym debut

Namesakes Carvalho, Ramos take part in, watch inaugural match

By Mike Rego
Posted 9/12/21

EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence High School girls’ volleyball team hosted the first indoor varsity sporting event held at the new building Saturday, Sept. 11, doing so fittingly in front of …

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EPHS girls' spikers welcome two legends back for new gym debut

Namesakes Carvalho, Ramos take part in, watch inaugural match

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence High School girls’ volleyball team hosted the first indoor varsity sporting event held at the new building Saturday, Sept. 11, doing so fittingly in front of and with the two people in whose honor the facility is named.

The Townies welcomed Scituate for their annual Injury Fund outing, the visiting Spartans now coached by EPHS volleyball legend Louis Carvalho.

The new court, as was the case in the old building where Carvalho built the Townies into a girls’ volleyball power, also bears his name. Carvalho won seven Division I state titles during his some two decades on the sidelines, including a record-tying run of five in a row from 2002-05. He also led the boys’ program to the first two of its three D-I state championships in 2001 and 2002.

In addition, Dr. Isadore Ramos, a standout athlete at EPHS and later a revered administrator in the district, was on hand to watch the contest, similarly in the gymnasium that then and now is dedicated in his honor.

Current EPHS head coach Alex Butler, who played for Carvalho and later served as his assistant coach, offered up some brief remarks prior to the match.

“It’s not often you play a visiting team whose coach the floor is named after,” Butler quipped, adding Carvalho has insisted over the years he would never return to EPHS and coach against a Townie team. Butler said it took him nearly two months to convince his mentor the match was a proper way to christen the new facility.

“I see it as E.P. can’t lose today,” Butler continued, adding, “Everything he did for this program over the years is still felt by myself coach Cabral and our team this and every year.”

Carvalho, who returned to coaching a few years ago out of state and came back to the sidelines locally last spring at Scituate for the COVID-19 induced abbreviated spring girls’ volleyball season, admiringly soaked in the new EPHS.

“The new building, it’s amazing. It’s awesome,” said Carvalho, who coaches the Spartans with his granddaughter Janaeya Evans. “I coached in Georgia for three years, and that building was awesome, but this surpasses it by miles.”

On the impact of Dr. Ramos, both personally and in the school department, Butler said later, “I’d also like to recognize Dr. Ramos, who the gym is name for. He actually hired me (as an EPSD teacher) in 1999 and has been an incredible role model for myself and all of the kids of East Providence.”

For Butler, he and his assistant Dan Cabral are hoping the facility reinvigorates the program, which has fallen off a bit recently from its years of dominance.

“The group is really excited with the new facility and how could you not be. It’s just nice to have a home, so we’re good,” said Butler.

He acknowledged, however, the thrill of the new facilities can only be maintained if the Townies raise their level of play and commit to being better each time they take the floor.

“The gymnasium overall is amazing, but the gymnasium doesn’t make the building. There’s a culture and an energy in the building that we have to work for every single day. That’s athletically, academically, socially,” Butler added. “Because the building can’t do anything for you except be here. We have to make the building come alive, which is something we’re working on every single day.

“We reinvented ourselves for a while when (former EPHS athlete turned activist) John Carnevale came in and redid the gym (in 2014). And our athletic facility was amazing, it was a bright, everyone liked coming here, but it doesn’t hold a candle to what we have right now. What you want to do is put a great product on the floor so people want to come and create an atmosphere that is exciting. It’s awesome for high school sports and it’s something that the kids will look forward to every day.”

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