'Bolts sweep Titans to remain unbeaten

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The Cranston East Thunderbolts stayed perfect, improving to 13-0 on the season after sweeping the Toll Gate Titans, 3-0, on Monday evening during senior night.

Junior setter James Tang had 21 assists and two digs for East and Theo Khvang added eight kills with two assists, six digs and two blocks.

“Theo is our go-to guy,” East head coach Meaghan McGonagle said. “He hits well, he sets well and he pretty much can play any position on the court, so he’s just having a phenomenal season.”

The ’Bolts started the game on a 10-0 run after Khvang returned Rory Dobbins’ opening serve with a spike. The Titans finally got on the board when junior setter Matt Walsh scored on a return.

East went up 16-2 after senior Zhonglin Zhen scored on serve, followed by points from Alex Norberg and Khvang. A little later, a spike from senior David Thoeung put the ’Bolts up 21-5. After a serve from Norberg sailed out of bounds, Toll Gate’s Eric Ruiz scored twice on serve to pull Toll Gate within 21-8. Then, Dobbins scored two points in front to get within 21-10. A fault from Ruiz would end the run and East went up 22-10 on the error. The ’Bolts cruised to a 25-14 win of the first set when Norberg closed it out with a kill in front.

In the second set, East went up 2-0 on two serves for Khvang. Then, Andrew Khvang set up junior Jacob Glantz for a splash to give the ’Bolts a 3-0 lead. The Titans got on the board when Dobbins hit a spike past Andrew Khvang. Toll Gate cut the lead in half when Matt Walsh assisted to Max Laiter for a kill, making it 6-3.

However, East would score three straight to go up 9-3. East extended its lead to 12-5 when Andrew Khvang assisted to Glantz for a kill. Then, Theo Khvang scored with a return and followed it with an ace, before Andrew Khvang and Glantz scored, giving East a 16-6 advantage. Thoeung put East up 23-10, and the ’Bolts won the set, 25-12, while taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.

Toll Gate played better in the third set, going up 3-0 on back-to-back aces from senior Tristan Wyns and a kill from Dobbins. East fought back to take the lead 4-3 after Wyns committed a service error. An ace from Dobbins evened the score at 5. Then, Theo Khvang earned a block on Wyns to give East a 9-7 lead.

Moments later, Walsh assisted to Dobbins for a spike to pull the Titans within 10-9. With the score tied at 13, Walsh passed to Laiter to give the Titans a 14-13 edge. But, East evened it when Tang assisted to Andrew Khvang for a kill. East took the lead and built a cushion after Tang found Thoeung for a kill, giving the ’Bolts a 19-16 lead. Tang continued piling up the assists, finding Glantz and Theo Khvang for kills, before Tang batted one of his own, earning the ’Bolts a 22-17 edge.

Walsh found Dobbins for two consecutive kills to pull the Titans within 22-19. Nonetheless, Tang found Andrew Khvang for a tally in front, giving East game point at 24-19. Shortly after, Glantz scored with a return to win the game, 25-21.

“We came out flat tonight,” Toll Gate head coach Ryan Garno said. “Cranston East is a very solid team. There’s a reason that they’re on top, undefeated. We knew that we had to come in and put forth a solid game plan and really play solid to get them. And we didn’t do that tonight.”

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