Recap: EGHS Unified Volleyball Team Are National Champs

Runner up in two state championships, the team comes through at Nationals in Salt Lake City.

Sometimes the sweetest victories are those that are least expected.

When the EGHS Unified Volleyball team set off for Salt Lake City to participate in the first ever Project Unify National Volleyball Championships, they didn’t have a state championship in their back pocket to power them through. In fact, they’d come in second in the state final for each of the past two seasons.

They did, however, . That and a lot of practice time earned them the first ever National Championship in Unified Volleyball May 27.

Unified sports pair athletes with special needs with typically developing “partners” who do not play the sport on another school team. East Greenwich High School has participated in unified sports for three years now, first with basketball. They’ve had unified volleyball the past two years.

In the first day of play in Utah, the EGHS team played three other teams, beating the Virginia Seaborne Superstars in two sets and the Arizona Cougars, 2-1, before falling to the Arizona Panthers 1-2.

On Sunday, EG met the Cougars again and again beat them 2-1, earning a spot in the championship against the North Carolina Eagles. In that match, EG won the first set, lost the second set, then came back to win the third set, the match and the championship!

“We did a really good job in all the games. We won!” said Patrick Quinn, one of the athletes.

“We worked together as a team. That’s what did it. Also, the bonding on the team was great,” said athlete Tyler Burke. “It still hasn’t sunk in yet.”

It was amazing," said coach Patti Carosotto, who was helped by Coach Dave Egan. "I feel honored to be their coach. All those hard practices. Those 25 practices paid off."

The team learned they would be competing at Nationals in March. Since then, they met twice a week to practice, even as some of the players had other sports they were involved in.

"They did not let a ball drop. They called balls. They had serves. They worked with one another. They guided each other on the court," said Carosotto. "Other teams were amazed at how unified they were."

She continued, "We at least tried to touch it three times. Some of the teams were not able to do that. They were on a mission, right from the moment we stepped in the gym ... to check in. They grabbed a ball, they started running practice. That wasn’t even on my agenda."

For athlete Burke, it was more than just a tournament. “Amazing city. Amazing tournament,” he said. “I’ll remember this for a lifetime.”

Members of the 2012 EGHS Unified Volleyball team:

Tyler Burke                 athlete        senior        
Michael Carne             athlete        junior           
Matthew De Luca        athlete        sophomore
Tessa Egan                 athlete        sophomore          
Jon-Erik Hurtubise      athlete        sophomore
Patrick Quin               athlete        junior
Kyle Carosotto            partner        senior           
Matthew Cruise           partner        junior           
Robert Kraft                partner        senior
Dylan Manning            partner        senior           
Matthew McBreen        partner        senior           
Vikram Murthy            partner        senior           


Kim Whittiker             partner        sophomore
Layne Burke               partner        sophomore

Players on the team who participated during the fall season:

Liam O'Shaughnessy     athlete        freshman
Christopher Colgan        partner        sophomore
Scott Cullinane              partner        senior
Kai Wiggins                  partner        senior

La Dolce Vita June 05, 2012 at 10:47 PM
It just goes to show what teamwork, positive mental attitude and practice can do. Congratulations to all the athletes, their coaches and their families.


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