The Bishop Hendricken Hawks volleyball team fell 3-1 (27-25, 25-20, 26-28, 25-23) to the Mount St. Charles Mounties in the Division I State Championship at Johnson & Wales Harborside Campus in Providence on Saturday evening.
The Hawks were led by senior outside hitter Steven Constantino, who had 22 kills. Mount was headed by senior outside hitter Dan Gould, who had 15 digs and his twin brother, setter Brett Gould, also a senior, who finished with 26 assists.
The Hawks jumped out to an early 6-0 lead in the first set before Mount stormed back and tied the match at 8. It was a seesaw battle after that, with the teams tying nine times. With the score knotted at 25, Brett Gould found senior middle blocker Mike DelliCarpini for a kill and then Dan Gould scored the set’s final point and gave Mount a 27-25 win and a 1-0 lead in the match.
“That’s the first pitch of a nine inning game,” said Hendricken coach Michael Harrington. “We jumped out and got the first six, and then they obviously outscored us the rest of the way.”
Hendricken trailed Mount by a few points for much of the second set until the Hawks took a 16-15 lead on back-to-back kills from Constantino.
Nonetheless, with Mount holding a 20-19 advantage, the Mounties scored three of the next four times, capped by the set-winner from Brett Gould and took the second set by a score of 25-20.
The Hawks owned a 9-3 lead in the third set, but Mount rallied back and knotted it at 14 halfway through. The teams battled back and forth after that, and when they were tied at 26, Hendricken senior setter Alex DiLucia earned a block on DelliCarpini and then Constantino followed that with a spike and gave the Hawks a 28-26 victory and pulled them within 2-1 in the match.
In the fourth set, the teams were tied at 23 when Constantino put a return out of bounds, which gave Mount game point. Mount senior Paul Brodeur finished the match when he blasted an ace, which gave Mount a 25-23 win of the set plus a 3-1 victory in the match.
The triumph also gave the Mount its first ever DI volleyball title. It’s the school’s first championship since winning three straight DII titles between 2008-2010. Mount dropped last year's Division I title game to South Kingstown with a crushing 15-13 defeat in the fifth set.
It was a tough loss for the Hawks, who battled Mount for the top spot for much of the season. The two teams split their regular season meetings and Mount won the regular season title with a record of 15-1 while the Hawks finished in second at 14-2.
“I told my team, this wasn’t our best performance, but our toughness showed through,” Harrington said. “This has been a real tough, resilient team. I like the leaders and all our players to compete hard from start to finish. And, I never felt like we had control at any given time, but I love to see them fight and compete and stay with it and put ourselves in a position to win the fourth and go five. Mount earned it tonight.”