WOOD RIVER JCT. — Chariho High’s girls volleyball team could hardly have been more dominating this fall.
The Chargers finished 19-0 and won the Division II championship. In three playoff matches, they lost one set by two points and swept East Providence to capture the title.
Twelve times during the season they shut out their opponents, and only twice — against East Providence and Westerly — were they extended to five sets.
“It was remarkable to see what they accomplished,” Coach Kathy McGeehan said. “They just did every thing we asked and more. They are terrific young women in athletics and academics.”
Chariho’s banner season resulted in a long list of postseason honors — five players earned recognition.
Junior setter Lexi Cole was named second-team All-State by the volleyball coaches association. She was also a first-team Division II selection.
“She has tremendous foot speed. When the team is not passing well, she can better the ball. That’s where she stands out in the state. She is smart and she knows the game,” McGeehan said. “She also knows how to keep the defense on their toes when she is setting. She is able to disguise where she is going to set.”
McGeehan said Cole led the team in assists and was second in digs and had one of the top hitting percentages on the team.
Junior middle Blocker Katja Nelson was named third-team All-State and first-team Division II.
Nelson was a dominating presence in the middle for the Chargers.
“She led our team in blocks and she had the highest hitting percentage of our primary hitters,” McGeehan said. “And she was our vocal leader. She was also our serving middle.”
McGeehan said the Chargers were also able to keep Nelson in the game when it came her turn to play on the back row.
“She did a nice job of digging,” McGeehan said. “When you have a strong middle it will keep opponents on their heels a little bit. She did a nice job of being an option on every play.”
Junior Julies White was a first-team Division II selection. White, a left-handed hitter, was the MVP of the D-II tournament.
“Having a Lefty hit from the right side is an advantage,” McGeehan said. “She was our clutch player. When we needed somebody to put the ball away, she did.
“She led the team in kills and was second in aces. Defensively, she didn’t come off the court. She played every rotation.”
Juniors Emma Kocab and Finleigh Callahan were named to the Division II third team.
“Emma’s job is to pass and defend and she did that really well,” McGeehan said. “She pursued every ball and never gives up. She also serves well, and along with Katja she became a vocal leader.”
Callahan was an effective hitter, but was particularly adept at serving as the season progressed.
In the title match against East Providence, she served for nine straight points in the first set and 11 straight in the second to help propel the Chargers to the title.
“She has a fast, hard float serve. It doesn’t have a true direction and it drops and bobs,” McGeehan said. “And she has a knack for recognizing how to serve through teams. She also was second or third on the team in kills.”