Lions Volleyball Team Finishes On Top

LHS Steals the D2 Title With Weekend Win Over Cranston West

Garrett Racine, Lion's Roar Staff

Cranston West declared their team the D2 champs a day before the championship game. The profile blunder only served to ignite LHS Volleyball. (Screenshot: Garrett Racine)

Finally, after a long season filled with heartbreak and collapses, Lincoln Athletics finally takes the state title that we deserve for the first time this season, while winning the first team sport title since 2020. 

After last season’s heartbreaking semifinals loss after an undefeated season, the Lincoln Boys Volleyball found its way up, moving into the states second division, playing against teams like Cranston West, Barrington, and Westerly. This new level of competition was expected to be a struggle for the team, as they had never had to play such high quality teams throughout an entire season. With the loss of the majority of the key players from last season, Lincoln was not expected to do much of anything this year. But as we now know, those expectations were not just exceeded, they were demolished. 

Headlined by a pair of senior starters in Will Denio and Tyler Dickinson, LHS volleyball team has won its first state volleyball championship in school history. After moving up to D2 this year to face off against intense competition, the boys started their season dropping six of their first seven games. Multiple players on the team who spoke to the Lion’s Roar indicated that the turning point seems to have come after taking this same Cranston West team the full five sets earlier in the season. 

After having just one win to their name at that point (including dropping three of the first four games without winning a set against the top three teams in the division in Barrington, Westerly and Cranston West), the team developed a new confidence. Knowing that they could handle one of the best teams in the state steeled their resolve.  Despite the sweep by West of the Lions this season, MacNamara, Denio, Dickinson and the rest of the Lions got the last laugh. 

The boys finished the season strong, going into the postseason as a dangerous sleeper team and the 4 seed, to take the divisional crown. After knocking off a rowdy East Providence Townies team at home in the first round, the Lions took on and defeated D2’s top seed, the Barrington Eagles, in five sets, going all the way. Heading into the state divisional title, Lincoln was preparing to take on Cranston West’s Falcons for the third time this season, dropping the first two games 3-0 and 3-2 respectively. However, about a day or so before the matchup at Rhode Island College, someone inside the locker room found that the Falcons Volleyball account on Instagram had changed their bio to read “2023 D2 champs” before the game even began. To say that lit a fire under Will Denio, Wayne MacNamara and the rest of the Lions roster. 

Being in the stands for the game, it was a pleasure to be able to watch many seniors celebrating the state title even if they didn’t play on the team. The turnout for the Lions fan section was stellar, with plenty of seniors coming out of the shadows to help cheer on the team in hopes of getting their third title in their high school lives, joining the 2019 Boys Soccer team and 2020 Boys Basketball team. 

The most rewarding part about it all? Shouting and chanting at the Falcons bench, telling them to change their bio. After about an hour or so passed by, the account bio was edited to read “runner ups” after jinxing themselves into losing against the Lions.  Their mistake was believing that they were up against a lesser opponent. 

Winning the state title and seeing all the hard work that the team put in all season long finally pay off with some hardware.  It was one of the greatest things I have personally ever been able to experience. Thank you, Lincoln, for making us believe that miracles can happen.

It’s never too early to look into the next season, is it? The Volleyball team looks to defend the title without two of their seven starters  — graduates Tyler Dickinson and Will Denio. 

The team returns star juniors turned seniors in Wayne MacNamara and Austin Noel, as well as second year senior Jacques Guerrier, who made a huge impact as the team’s Libaro this season. Expecting to take big leaps going into next season are the two other starters from this year’s championship team in sophomore Tyler Biddle and junior Jackson Colton. Colton specifically, a star both on the court and in the classroom, is expected to take a massive leap, potentially filling the shoes of one of the outgoing seniors. 

Freshman Brian Gugel is also expected to have a major role next season going into his sophomore season. Other names to watch include senior Jose Ramos-Lopez, and juniors John Barros and Quincey Newray. There is nowhere to go but up for the program, as the Lions’ boys volleyball team continues to grow.  There’s a lot of hope going into the next school year that the team willget to contend yet again another state title. Who knows, maybe this sparks next season to be the year of the Lion.