Girls volleyball

Rodriques’ 23 kills lead Huskies over Johnston, 3-1

Mt. Hope will face Classical in the semifinals on Thursday

Photos and story by Richard W. Dionne, Jr.
Posted 4/28/21

The Mt. Hope girls’ volleyball team moved on to the Division II semifinals on Thursday for a rematch with Classical, after dismantling Johnston, 3-1 (27-25, 20-25, 25-15, 26-24), in the …

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Girls volleyball

Rodriques’ 23 kills lead Huskies over Johnston, 3-1

Mt. Hope will face Classical in the semifinals on Thursday

Posted

The Mt. Hope girls’ volleyball team moved on to the Division II semifinals on Thursday for a rematch with Classical, after dismantling Johnston, 3-1 (27-25, 20-25, 25-15, 26-24), in the quarterfinals at Johnston High School on Tuesday evening. Classical blew out Burrillville 3-0 (25-15, 25-20, 25-17) in their home quarterfinals match. The Huskies will be looking for some revenge after Classical handed Mt. Hope their first loss of the season back on April 9. 

 Rodriques bashes 23 kills

The Huskies’ senior left hitter, Hannah Rodriques, bashed 23 kills and 2 aces in just 4 sets against the Panthers. The senior was equally good on defense with 22 digs. “Oh my God. This is great,” Rodriques said after the victory. “It’s only the beginning, but it’s great. This is what we do. We don’t let balls drop. We don’t stop playing until the end.”

“We were waiting for her breakout game,” said Mt. Hope head coach Lisa Lunney. “Tonight was it. 23 kills— that’s absurd. You don’t see that in a four-set match.” 

“Hannah is really powerful,” said senior setter Isabel Savinon. “If she’s in the front row, I’ll go to her a lot. Because it’s going to be a kill most of the time.” Savinon masterfully set up her teammates, tallying 40 assists, in what was a total team effort for the Huskies.

“For a lot of us it could have been our last match,” said Savinon. “We really just pulled from the bottom of our hearts and played the best that we could. And hopefully we make it all the way.”

Savinon also used junior middle hitter Jillian Brown, who recorded 7 kills, 5 aces and 24 service points. Brown’s steady serving allowed the Huskies to get back into game four and finish out the match. 

“Jillian got back there and rattled off a whole bunch of serves,” said Coach Lunney. “The team finished tonight. They are just getting it done. These kids play with a lot of heart.”

 Rotation was key

The Huskies transitioned well from defense to offense. Coach Lunney used a consistent rotation of Rodriques, Brown, Savinon, McKenna Reardon, Grace Stephenson, Christina Frenette, and senior libero Abby Ferreira. 

Mt. Hope  won a close first set with several lead changes before the Huskies came out on top 27-25. 

The Huskies dropped the second set, though the team made a valiant comeback attempt. They won the third set leading from start to finish, 25-15. But the got down early in the fourth set, 8-4. 

The Panthers stretched their lead to 7-14 in the fourth set, and then it was Brown’s turn to serve. The tall, athletic sophomore erased the Panther’s big lead and tied the score, 14-14. 

Mt. Hope fell back again, 16-20, but senior libero Abby Ferreira served them to within one, 21-22. The libero then dug out a Panthers serve, with Mia Shaw and Savinon colliding trying to set the ball. It popped over to Brown at the net and she volleyed it over to keep the rally going. Rodriques ended the point with one of her patented blasts and tied the score, 22-22. 

Rodriques was at her best down the stretch of the last set, with 4 kills when the Huskies need them the most. 

“Hannah was absolutely on her game tonight,” said Coach Lunney.

The Panthers went ahead 24-22, and it looked like they were destined to force a 5th set, but a Rodriques slam for a kill, made it 24-23. Reardon poked the ball over for a winner to tie the score, 24-24, and the Huskies and their fans went wild. 

Rodriques blistered a spike by Panther defenders at the net for another kill and a Huskies had their first lead of the set, 25-24. 

Brown served up the winning point for what the Huskies thought was an ace. They began to celebrate, but somehow the Panthers managed to save the ball and get it back over the net. Savinon quickly broke from the Huskies’ celebration. She set the ball to Rodriques and the right hitter slammed another kill to solidify the victory.   

“I don’t want to say it’s something that we are known for,” Rodriques said. “But we aren’t a team that gives up.” 

“The team showcased all of their skills tonight,” said assistant coach Lee Ann Shaw. “When they needed to be smart, they were smart. When they needed to hustle, they did. When they needed to pull together as a team, they did.”

The Huskies finished the shortened Fall 2 season in third place in Division II-East with a 7-2 record and 11-2 overall.

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