Saturday, October 30, 2010

Providence volleyball moves to regional round

The Providence volleyball program is used to playing for championships. Saturday afternoon, they got one step closer to a chance at another state title, coming back from a 2-1 deficit to beat Mount Tabor 3-2 to move onto the 4A state semifinals.

Providence (26-4), who won the state championship in 1996, 2002, 2004 and 2005 and lost in the final in 2006, will travel to Lake Norman (29-2) Tuesday night for the opportunity to play in the 6th state championship.

“It feels like this team belongs here (state semifinals) and it is good to be back,” Providence volleyball coach Karen Bradbury, in her 5th year as head coach. “This is a talented group of girls. But this is not as far as we want to go. Of course, we want it all (state title).”

Trailing two games to one, it appeared Providence may not make it past the state quarterfinal match against Mount Tabor, but just when it seemed the Panthers were in trouble in game’s four and five, they responded.

Trailing 8 to 10 in game four, Providence used a 14-2 run to the game into a 22-12 advantage, turning the game and the match. Senior Rachel Frick, junior Megan Edwards and sophomore Casey Rieger all made huge kills in the run as the Panthers beat the Spartans 25-14 to tie the match at two games, apiece.

“When we got down (2-1), we all just decided that this wasn’t going to be the last time we all played together,” Frick said, a senior. “I think from there on, we just took a different attitude that we were going to go for it.”

Trailing 9-7 in the fifth and decisive, the Panthers looked to be in trouble again, but again, responded, scoring eight of the game’s next nine points, to win the game, 15-10, and the match 3-2. Frick had four kills in the 8-1 run that clinched the victory.

Frick led a balanced Providence offense with 16 kills, while Edwards added 13 kills and Rieger had 12 kills on the night.

“It doesn’t matter if we go right, left or in the middle, we have a lot of great offensive players,” Frick said. “Once we got going, they didn’t know where we were going with the ball.”

Providence also spent most of the match trying to figure out how to stop the Spartans’ Chelsea Davis. Davis, who had 20 kills on the night, took over for Mount Tabor (27-4) for most of the second and third games, which the Spartans won.

But Davis and company couldn’t finish off the Panthers, when they had them down in both of the final two games.

“This team has been there before,” Bradbury said, who also led her team to a Southwestern 4A title this year. “We have a lot of experience and have learned from a lot of our mistakes and losses. I think we like tough matches like this.”

-- Special Correspondent Jay Edwards


Anonymous said...

Providence had terrific play from all of their starters. Senior setter Lauren Johnson: led the offense, successfully moved the ball around to all of her hitters and had several blocks. Junior middle blocker Mireya Braxton: had some key kills and blocks and a couple of great serving runs. Junior libero Annie Spence: showed great athleticism getting to the ball to dig it up. Sophomore middle blocker Emily Franklin: a force at the net with her block forced the Mt. Tabor hitters out of their attack.

Congratulations Panthers!