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High School Sports

October 23, 2012

H.S. VOLLEYBALL: Pioneers, Warriors have similar objective for Tuesday's regionals

Providence, Christian Academy focused on winning titles

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — One area volleyball team knows a thing or two about playing in the regional round of the IHSAA state tournament. Meanwhile, another area volleyball team has not competed in a regional in eight years.

But both Providence and Christian Academy have the same objective entering their respective home regional matches at 7 tonight — win a regional title and advance to Saturday’s semi-state.

The Class 2A No. 2 Pioneers (32-4) will host Southwestern (26-10) in the Class 2A regional at the Larkin Center. Providence will be making its second consecutive regional appearance and its 26th overall. The Pioneers defeated South Ripley in last year’s 2A regional match, 25-22, 25-17, 28-26.

The Warriors (24-5) will play Class A No. 4 and defending state runner-up Trinity Lutheran (31-4) tonight in the Class A regional in New Albany. Christian Academy will be playing in its first regional since 2004, when the school was named Graceland Christian.

PIONEERS NOT LOOKING PAST REBELS

When you look at the Class 2A regional on paper, Providence is the overwhelming favorite.

The Pioneers have been ranked in the top two of the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association Class 2A poll for most of the season. They have 32 victories, which includes a three-set win over Southwestern on Sept. 20 (25-15, 25-13, 25-11), against a difficult schedule. Finally, Providence has seven regional titles, while Southwestern has never won a regional.

But veteran Pioneers’ coach Terri Purichia has warned her players not to overlook the Rebels.

“We don’t look for them to run away from us,” Purichia said. “They are a very athletically-talented team. They have two kids that can give us a lot of trouble if we let them get involved in the game. We’re taking [tonight’s] match very seriously. We know that Southwestern has a team that is capable of pulling off the upset if we don’t come in ready to play.

“There has been one thing that we’ve been saying to this team all season long and that’s to have tunnel vision. There have been times that we’ve done it better than other times, but that has definitely something we are going to continue to say to them. We’ve got to keep tunnel vision and focus on the task at hand.”

Providence captured its second sectional title in a row last Saturday at Henryville. After getting a first-round bye, the Pioneers defeated Paoli in the semifinals (25-11, 25-15, 25-18) and Eastern (Pekin) in the championship (25-17, 25-12, 25-11).

But despite winning another sectional, Purichia thought both the Rams and Musketeers really challenged the Pioneers last weekend.

“Paoli and Pekin, in my opinion, both played very well, so we had to really play,” Purichia said. “We had to really play, which I love. I like going into a match knowing that there is a team on the other side that can beat you. I think in the end, we overpowered them offensively. We kept the intensity of our serving at a high level.

“But I did not feel we played our best game either time and I did think we got nervous. We still are dealing with that youthfulness this season.”

If Providence claims another regional crown tonight, Purichia says the Forest Park Semi-state will be very competitive. Two teams expected to reach the semi-state are Class 2A No. 4 Eastern Greene and Class 2A No. 10 Indianapolis Ritter. Eastern Greene, which was last year’s state runner-up, defeated Providence in the 2011 semi-state semifinal en route to the semi-state championship.

“Winning the regional would put us in a very, very intense semi-state, and we would have to play two very well-put-together matches in order to advance,” Purichia said. “Can we do it? Absolutely, we can do it. But we’ve got to go in taking it one point at a time and one game at a time.

“At this point if you look ahead, that’s when you’re going to stumble.”

Sophomore Taylor Wilson leads the Pioneers in kills with 368, while teammate Haley Libs ranks second with 280. Providence sophomore setter Patricia Mattingly paces the team in assists with 725, while Pioneer senior libero Kylie Flanagan has a team-high 275 digs.

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