Pioneers haven't lost a postseason set in three years
Providence volleyball – one of the state’s most dominant programs – will begin its quest for a fourth consecutive state title Tuesday night.
The Pioneers (29-4), ranked No. 2 in Class 3A, will face host Brownstown at 7 p.m. in the first round of sectional play.
During its three-year stretch of state championships, Providence grabbed two Class 2A titles before being pushed up to Class 3A, where Providence swept Yorktown to win last year’s final.
The Pioneers are an eye-popping 170-19 the past five seasons. In the past three postseasons, Providence is 23-0 and it hasn’t lost a set.
“I thought (such success) was a possibility,” Pioneers coach Terry Purichia said. “But I didn’t know if that would turn into reality.”
Purichia pointed to six years ago, when the future members of the Pioneers’ program sat in the stands and watched Providence tumble in the sectional.
“Those kids, they decided they weren’t going to lose,” she said.
In 2011, Providence advanced to the semi-state at Forest Park. The next year, it lost to Wapahani in the state title match. Purichia said the most difficult step was reaching the first crown in 2013.
“Breaking the seal was the most difficult thing to do,” she said. “Once the kids won that first one, everything just completely flipped. Now we’ve just got unbelievable expectations. It is what it is.
“For some people, anything short of a state championship is an unsuccessful season. That is so unfair. These kids (on the current team) have been so successful. … It is an unbelievable run.”
Purichia has fielded her youngest team in years this season. The Pioneers are led by Purdue commit Marissa Hornung, a junior, and senior setter Lexie Libs, who will play volleyball at East Tennessee State next season.
“We are so different than the team we were in that first match of the season,” she said. “We’ve improved every single day. It’s not always pretty. But we have found a way to win. They are winners.”
Providence, however, has developed some balance and depth. The Pioneers have five players with at least 130 kills, including Hornung (364), Courtney Glotzbach (255), Mia Fougerousse (172), Hanna Mitchell (159) and Madison Kruer (130).
“I’ve just really enjoyed this team,” Purichia said. “They really want to do well.”