BLOOMINGTON — Class 4A No. 3 Providence will take on No. 9 Center Grove in tonight’s Bloomington North Regional Finals after defeating Castle by scores of 25-12, 25-20, 23-25, 25-15.
The Pioneers overwhelmed the Knights in that first set but coach Terri Purichia’s squad had to battle back in the second.
“We had a very good first set. Everybody was firing. Our offense was good. Our defense was good. Our sets were right on target. And I think Castle was a little nervous. They didn’t play the way they’re capable of playing,” Purichia said.
Courtney Glotzbach, who finished with a match-high 25 kills, had a pair of cross-court smashes to rally Providence from a 15-14 deficit. Maggie Purichia and Ali Hornung put away the last two balls of the set.
Castle again came out playing well in the third set, taking an 11-6 lead. Providence pulled within 24-23 but Castle was able to finish it off.
The Pioneers responded in a big way in the fourth set and remained confident.
“Mentally, we knew from the first two sets, that we were capable of beating them,” said senior libero Ceci Rush, who led the team with 15 digs. “Physically, we needed everyone firing on all cylinders. We knew we could put them down.”
The Pioneers trailed early in the second, third and fourth sets. Coach Purichia wants her team focused on not trying to do too much.
“We have to do a better job of protecting the ball. Sometimes on sets we don’t feel like are good, we just blast them. I think we had eight hitting errors in each of those last three sets. At least,” Purichia said.
Offensively, the Pioneers executed their game plan.
“Tips, rolls, we got our back-row players more involved in telling us where to go and that’s how we won the game,” Glotzbach said.
Defensively, the Pioneers were their usual scrappy selves.
"We just decided nothing was gonna hit the ground. We put every ounce of effort into that,” Glotzbach said.
“Ceci played tremendous. Courtney had such a good game. Emma dug up good balls, Grace dug up good balls,” Terri Purichia said.
Maggie Purichia was efficient in the middle offensively with six kills and a factor defensively with six block assists. Her play will be be crucial against a Center Grove team with 6-foot-3 junior middle hitter Grace Boggess, a Butler recruit, and a 6-1 setter Madison Hammill, a Wisconsin recruit.
“Maggie had a really good game. We know for us to advance our middles have to be big. We’ve really been working on that the last two weeks. She did a nice job of putting the ball in aggressively,” coach Purichia said. “Center Grove is a very good team and they have a lot of size.”