WOONSOCKET — It looked like it was going to be another one of those long, frustrating nights for the Mount St. Charles boys volleyball team.
After riding outside hitter Joe Lynch to a come-from-behind win in the opening game of Wednesday’s Division I regular-season finale against La Salle, the Mounties committed errors on 16 of the second game’s first 31 points to fall behind by seven points before coach Josh D’Abate mercifully called a timeout.
The Mounties played some of their best volleyball of the season over the match’s final 57 points. Behind a match-high 20 kills from Lynch and six kills and seven digs by fellow senior outside hitter Matt Badeau, the Mounties won their third straight match to end the season with a 26-24, 25-21, 25-17 victory over the Rams to split the season series.
“This definitely felt good because all of our matches usually go down to the fifth game where we’re always in it, but we lost because we make stupid mistakes,” Badeau said. “Tonight, we limited those mistakes and that’s why we won in three. This shows we can play the way the best teams like NK, SK and Hendricken play. If we just play calm and limit our mistakes, we can play with anyone.”
“This honestly felt great,” Lynch said. “We’ve been on the edge every single game and we know we can compete with the best teams, but tonight we just kind of figured some things out. We kept the sets further in and away from the net so we had room to get around the block. Everyone covered and we made some nice plays.”
Mount St. Charles (5-5 Division I) has only been swept by the undefeated Skippers and Coventry, while they went to five games in losses to Chariho, Hendricken and La Salle. D’Abate knows his team is just a few points away from being the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, but the Mounties will have to settle for the fifth or sixth seed and a road date against a team like Coventry or South Kingstown.
“We have a lot of experience and we have lot of talent, but we’ve made a lot of mistakes this season and that comes from having a whole year off,” D’Abate said. “The last two or three matches we’ve played a lot better and found a way to limit our mistakes. We played pretty well in that third game, especially. We passed really well and we did a good job of giving our hitters space. Joe was really good tonight, really good.”
Mount St. Charles setter Matt McGarry dished out 33 assists, while senior right-side hitter Kyle Farnesi had seven kills and three digs and senior middle Gary Kalmer chipped in with four kills and two blocks.
La Salle (2-7 Division I) needed to win Wednesday’s match because now the Rams will be the No. 8 seed in the playoffs, which means a date with the undefeated Skippers in the state quarterfinals next week. The Rams were in pole position to win the opening game after a few Mount mistakes allowed the road side to earn a game point.
Lynch recorded kills on back-to-back points before Farnesi delivered a kill on Mount’s only game point. The Mounties simply couldn’t get out of their own way in the second game, as the Rams turned a 7-5 deficit into a 19-12 advantage when D’Abate called a timeout and stated the obvious.
“Coach just told us we’re making our own mistakes and we need to let them make mistakes,” Lynch said. “We needed to play our own game and stop giving them points. After the timeout, we finally broke the threshold and we feel like we can beat anybody.”
“When that happens like it did in the second game, we usually panic and that’s when we make mistakes,” Badeau said. “Coach called a timeout to calm us down because when we play calm, we play our best.”
The Mounties allowed the Rams to make the mistakes in the second half of the game, as the hosts went on a 13-2 run to end the game. Mount scored the game’s final five points to talk a 2-0 lead.
Mount fell behind 5-4 in the final game, but that was the final time they trailed in the match. Thanks to the play of Lynch, Badeau,. McGarry and Farnesi, the Mounties built leads of 10-6 and 18-14 before cruising to their third sweep of the season.
Follow Branden Mello on Twitter @Branden_Mello