The Pioneers (34-5), claiming their fifth straight semi-state title, smothered New Palestine 25-12, 27-25, 25-9. No. 2 Providence will now face No. 1 Yorktown for the 3A state championship at Ball State Nov. 5 at 3 p.m. in a rematch of last year’s final.
The Pioneers are gunning for their fourth straight state title.
“This is so different because we have a new team,” said Providence coach Terri Purichia. “I’m so proud of them. … We just erupted into tears because they’ve never done it before. It’s very special to a lot of new people.”
The Pioneers got off to a quick start and used a 9-0 run in the first set to pull away from the Dragons. Providence led 12-10 before kills by Marissa Hornung and Courtney Glotzbach ignited the nine-point spurt.
In the second set, the Pioneers again surged to a solid start, breezing to a 21-12 lead. Then the Dragons (27-11) scored the next seven points and caught Providence at 24-24 before the Pioneers held on.
“I don’t feel like we stopped playing (in the second set),” Purichia said. “Number 4 (Allison Dennermann) started playing. She’s one of the best players we’ve faced all year.”
Dennermann, a junior, is committed to the University of the Pacific.
In the third set, Providence used a devastating 12-0 run to take control as the Pioneers led 16-3 before New Palestine found its bearings. Purichia pointed to the play of her setter, Lexie Libs, an East Tennessee State signee, who handed out 35 assists.
“Lexie is just an amazing setter, and she distributes the ball so evenly,” Purichia said. “We had six kids with double-digit attempts.
“Lexie is able to balance that attack.”
Hornung echoed her coach’s remarks.
“She doesn’t get enough credit for it,” Hornung said of Libs. “She’s the reason we win games.”
Libs paced the Pioneers with 38 assists in a straight-set win over Evansville Memorial to make it to the semi-state final. Hornung recorded 18 digs and 14 kills. Courtney Glotzbach added 11 kills, and Mia Fougerousse had 10.
CLASS 3A SEMI-STATE
Semifinals: Providence d. Evansville Memorial 25-15, 25-15, 25-13; New Palestine d. Northview 19-25, 25-18, 13-25, 25-11, 15-12.
Finals: Providence d. New Palestine 25-12, 27-25, 25-9.