Panthers get win in quarters


The top-seeded Johnston boys volleyball team continued to surge by sweeping Central Falls 3-0 (25-12/ 25-18/ 25-22) in the Division III Quarterfinals last week.
The Panthers rolled to a 25-12 win in the first set and never looked back. Johnston has been the division’s most dominant team this spring, remaining unbeaten and dropping just one set all season.
“We have a lot of confidence and we have a lot of talent. We have two very good middle hitters in Josh (Philbrick) and Yandel (Centeno Gonzalez) and our outside is strong as well, we can send it to the outside for more points. We were ready to go this year but we knew that we had to put in the work. We’re the state champs and we want to keep our title. We want to go back to back,” said senior James Guilmette after the quarterfinal victory.
The defending champions will next take on Woonsocket in Wednesday’s semifinal matchup, with the winner advancing to the state final at Rhode Island College on Saturday.
Many of the Johnston players have been together for three seasons, which allowed them to hit the ground running in their title defense.
“The strongest part of our team is our chemistry. We’re all friends, we’re seniors, we all know each other. That’s our strongest attribute. Last season we were going in trying to prove ourselves and this year we’re trying to prove ourselves. It’s the same,” said fellow senior Josh Philbrick.
As the Panthers get ready for another big playoff performance, Guilmette feels that resilience will be key in keeping momentum.
“Big hits, big points and our attitude. Our attitude is the most important thing. When we’re up, we’re up, when we’re down, we have to be able to get back. We’ve been able to manage that this year, pulling ourselves back,” Guilmette said. “Our willingness to fight for a point, we never give up and we fight tooth and nail.”


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