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Zach Wilcox Chariho High School Jill Connor / The Westerly Sun

Preview: Chariho boys’ volleyball


Head coach:

Doug Bliven (3rd season).

Assistant coach:

Jen Darmanin.

Last year:

The Chargers posted a 7-11 mark (6-10 Division I-South) and lost in the first round of the Division I tournament. The 2013 season was a marked improvement over a 2-14 2012.

Returning to varsity:

Seniors:

Ben NeJame (captain), Stephen Philipp (captain), Robbie Toth (captain), Zach Wilcox (captain), Brody Briggs, Aaron Dolan, Brandon Eaton, Alec Fowler, John Gersbeck.

New to varsity:

Seniors:

Adam Bemis.

Outlook:

Chariho heads into the season with the somewhat unusual distinction of being an exclusively senior team.

Coach Doug Bliven said that his team’s experience will undoubtedly be its biggest strength.

“It’s huge,” Bliven said. “This core of guys we’ve been relying on have been here since they’ve been sophomores. This team took over for the 2011 team and they didn’t have a lot of time down in JV.”

A more experienced team will allow Bliven to implement a more complicated offensive sets, which he said will make his team more difficult to defend.

“We’ve been progressively getting more complicated in our offense,” Bliven said. “We kept things simpler when they were starting out, but now we have the opportunity to run some of these plays with our experience.”

Bliven said that two players, Steven Philipp and Alex Fowler, are poised to make big jumps this season.

Philipp took over as Chariho’s setter midway through 2013 and has had a full offseason to prepare for that role full time. Bliven said the extra preparation time has really benefited him.

Fowler, Bliven said, has spent a lot of time in the gym and has improved his strength and overall athleticism.

Zach Wilcox earned second-team Division I honors in 2013 and is one of Chariho’s four captains in 2014.

Coach’s take:

“You don’t know until you get into the season what you’ll be, but we’re excited. One of the reasons I came back to coach was because I knew we’d have this group of guys — they’re great kids. We’re talented enough to compete with anyone in the state and I think we should be able to make a deep run in the playoffs.”



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