August 29th, 2020

Providence volleyball digs deep in 5 set thriller

Block_eric thorne

Eric Thorne

Staff Writer

Providence volleyball digs deep in 5 set thriller
Providence senior Ali Hornung sets up to deliver one of her 33 kills. (photo by J. Eric Thorne)

FLOYDS KNOBS (IN) – Ali Hornung knew it was time to end the marathon volleyball match so the Providence outside hitter rose up and delivered the knockout kill for a thrilling 25-23, 25-27, 21-25, 25-16, 16-14 win over Lawrence North.

“We were just telling ourselves keep our energy up and focused through a very long match,” Hornung said. “That last point was the finishing touch to a great effort that took everyone, but it was a great set by Grace (Purichia) and I saw a hole and just finished it there.”

The teams met Saturday at Floyd Central as part of the North vs. South Southern Showcase that included Floyd Central and Hamilton Southeastern.

The Pioneers ranked No. 4 in the preseason coach’s association rankings never succumbed the pressure despite being down 2 sets to 1, but mixed things up a little and found cracks in North Lawrence height advantage.

Providence coach Terri Purichia knew what needed to be done.

“I loved this atmosphere today.  Both of my lefts played great Ali and Anna, but we can get ourselves in trouble sometimes on services, so we aren’t able to be as productive as we like to be,” Terri Purichia said. “After that third set, I thought we were a little draggy and the fourth we picked up the serves and aggressiveness and our middles got involved.”

Providence (4-0) led early in set one only to fall behind by as many as seven points before Hornung and fellow outside hitter Anna Purichia started a rally that saw them draw even at 18-18. The teams battled back and forth to four more ties and two lead changes before Horning crushed a pair of kills and an ace to close out the set.

Lawrence North reversed that in the second set overcoming and eight-point deficit as Providence raced out to a 16-8 lead. A run of hitting and service errors allowed the Wildcats to chip their way back finally drawing even at 22-22 and their first lead at 25-24.

Set three was a close battle throughout with five ties including 13-13 but the Wildcats refused to relinquish the lead and it was Ashleigh White slamming home a winner to claim the set. Serving woes were much blame in not allowing Providence back in it including three errors after the tie.

“That was crazy game and we haven’t been in a situation like this, but it was super fun today,” said Anna Purichia, who is committed to Eastern Kentucky. “Composure wins games and that’s what we had to do since they had the upper hand a lot of the time.”

On the edge of losing the match Providence would be undeterred and found a fire behind its senior leaders and a shift in strategy by their coach.

Emma Kaelin slid over from her setters’ position while Grace Purichia began to handle more setting duties. That allowed more passing by Kaelin and some timely kills of her own from the outside throwing the Wildcats off their game.

“I think the changes we made with Grace and I really made the difference in getting the momentum to change,” Kaelin said “We started rough on serves but our serving will pick up and improve, but this showed what we can do.”

Providence exploded out of a 5-5 tie and never looked back in the fourth set maintain a six to eight-point advantage when Kaelin’s service tipped the net and fell untouched for a point. Anna Purichia drove home seven kills and Hornung three.

“We were giving them easy shots when we didn’t put a good swing on it,” Terri Purichia said. “When we needed something Anna and Ali answered the call and our setters did a good job of where to run them against a very big athletic team.”

Anna Purichia finished with 20 kills.

It also helped that senior libero Miranda Harley was a huge sparkplug. During one point she kept three balls alive while lying on the court.

“It was a chaotic start and I tried to fill all the holes I could to keep the ball alive,” Harley said. “I love hustle plays and getting tips on hard to reach balls - that’s my game. I also must keep the first ball alive except no one cares about the first ball hit they just care about the big hit. As a libero my responsibly is to keep the play going and I love defense.”

The final set was a fierce exchange of eight ties and the lead changed hands three times.  Anna Purichia broke a 14-14 tie with a kill and Horning followed by driving home the winner.

“My first thought always is I want to block this shot and for me I like when they pound shots at me,” Anna Purichia said. “I told them in the final set don’t let a ball hit the floor throw your body everywhere. Miranda Harley was lights out.”

Hornung, a Purdue commit, finished with 33 kills and 14 digs and Grace Purichia finished with 40 assists while Kaelin who is headed to Indiana State had 7 kills and digs to go with 16 assists.

“That’s the best Lawrence team we’ve seen in a while. Big scrappy team that knocked the crap out of the ball,” Horning said. “We stayed calm and collected and played even better when it was close.”




Recent Articles