Providence volleyball has been so dominant in Class 2-A, winning back-to-back state championships, the Indiana High School Athletic Association promoted the Pioneers up to 3-A for the 2015-16 seasons. It’s known as the “success factor” rule.
The Pioneers are the poster children for success. And the 3-A tournament might not hold them, not if Wednesday’s takedown of Floyd Central is evidence of Providence’s current trajectory.
With sophomore hitter Marissa Hornung and junior setter Lexie Libs setting a torrid tone, the No. 2 Pioneers conquered the Class 4-A No. 15 Highlanders in four games, rolling to a 25-12, 25-14, 25-27, 25-16 victory.
After graduating the all-state stars that powered them to the titles, the Pioneers could have dropped a level or two talent-wise, and nobody on the other side of the net would have blinked. But that’s not happening. Providence is now 19-2, with the only losses to 4-A No.1 Cathedral and Hamilton Southeastern.
This season, it’s simply someone else’s turn to take center stage, and they are, with quickness and skill. The Highlanders did not go quietly, with Auburn recruit Gwyn Jones making her presence known at the net as they rallied in Game 3, but Providence had too much sustained firepower.
“We made too many mistakes,” Floyd coach Bart Powell said. “Our mistakes were Games 1 and 2. I had a whole team not listening to what I was saying, and I was irate. I want certain things done. We played well in Game 3 and half of Game 4, but that’s a good Providence team. I think it’s better than what they had last year.”
Providence displayed some jitters when Floyd Central made its move. Balls usually do not hit the floor with any regularity against the Pioneers, but Jones and Mikaila Humphrey (14 kills) did a lot of damage.
“We struggle with size. We don’t have any,” Providence coach Terri Purichia said. “No team we’ve played has put the ball down on the floor on our defense like Gywn did in that stretch, and we did get a little shook up.”
Not for long. Hornung, with help from Jacquie Hornung and Alyson Bass, made sure. Marissa Hornung had 22 kills, Jacquie totaled 13 and Bass 12. Audrey Shannon had 26 digs and Libs handed out 56 assists.
Humphrey also had 14 digs for the Highlanders (9-5). Jacque Farris set the offense with 19 assists and Sarah Murray had 15 digs.
Justin Sokeland can be contacted at email@example.com