The Cranston West unified volleyball team topped Central Falls last Sunday at Johnson and Wales to claim the state championship crown.
The Falcons flew high throughout the entire season, topping some of the best clubs in the state. Cranston West coach Matthew Reis was proud of his team’s performance and had a feeling from early on in the season that the Falcons had what it took to go all the way.
“Early on this year we felt that we had a good team, the first few practices I could tell that we were pretty solid all around, we had three kids from last year back so we felt that we would be pretty decent. Our development was mostly with the camaraderie though. The kids really blended well together off the court,” said Reis. “Every year (the relationship) is good between the partners and the athletes. This year it was just as good, if not better both on and off the court which was nice.”
The Falcons will now be able to add another trophy to the case, and another chapter in the Cranston West athletics history books. However, Reis and company were simply happy to have fun on the court, and to learn some new lessons along the way.
“Whenever you win it’s nice. But at the end of the day, having a good group of kids is what is important and the winning should just be the frosting on the cake. That being said, any time you win it’s great and you are excited about it. Having people saying congratulations, the kids wearing their medals, it’s a good feeling,” said Reis. I’d like to think that win or lose it was a successful season. “If the kids are working hard, learning the skills, getting some exercise, that’s great.”
Reis expects another great season come spring when the Falcons hit the court for unified basketball. Cranston West has had solid numbers in its unified sports over the past few years, and Reis has been pleased with how the unified community has developed at the school.
“It’s a great group of kids, with the on the court stuff but also their personalities. (Unified sports) are a great way to give these kids an outlet to interact with other students,” said Reis. “We have a great group of kids that are involved in both unified volleyball and unified basketball, it’s very special for the community.”