Friday, October 13, 2017

VOLLEYBALL: Pioneers sweep Bulldogs in sectional; Breeding’s 35-year career ends at NA

Special to Southern Indiana Preps
NEW ALBANY—One streak continued at 32. Another ended at 35.
The Class 4A No. 3 Providence Pioneers matched up with New Albany Thursday night in The Doghouse in the first round of the Class 4A New Albany Sectional. The match was a bittersweet one for each coach involved.
Providence coach Terri Purichia advanced with a three-set sweep of the host Bulldogs. The victory moved Providence to 33-1 on the season and extended the Pioneers’ winning streak to 32 straight matches, a school record. The Pioneers won 25-11, 25-12, 25-11.
Purichia was obviously pleased with the win, but did not look forward to playing New Albany.
The reason was simple: New Albany coach John Breeding had already announced his retirement from coaching the Bulldogs after 35 years. A loss in the tournament meant his time was finished at that point. Purichia did not savor facing an emotional New Albany team, and having her team putting an end to Breeding’s time.
“I was just a smidge disappointed when I saw the draw because we were in a really tough position, having to face that team in what could possibly have been John’s last match,” said Purichia. “I was really torn about that because I have really great respect for John Breeding as a coach and as a man.”
Breeding was emotional afterwards, but also very proud of his team.
“It’s over for me now. It’s pretty tough. It’s time and I’ve got all kinds of emotions,” he said.
The first half of the first set saw New Albany play its best. Although Providence never trailed, the Bulldogs stayed close early. After a service error by Providence, New Albany trailed just 10-7.
“It was intense,” said Purichia. “I knew that they were going to come out smoking guns, and that’s what they did. They had a great crowd and great energy, and it took us awhile to get into our rhythm. His (Breeding’s) team played so hard in that first set.”
Providence kicked into gear at that point and outscored New Albany 15-4 to end the first set. At one point, the Pioneers reeled off six consecutive points on sophomore Ceci Rush’s service, effectively putting the game away.
The biggest hitter for the Pioneers in the first set was Marissa Hornung, who had seven kills. The senior finished the night with 12 kills. Her sister Ali, a freshman, led the team with 13 kills. Teammate Courtney Glotzbach also recorded double digit kills with 10.
The second set the Pioneers jumped out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back. New Albany clawed its way back into the set at 9-5. But once again Providence answered with a run, this time 5-0 on the serve of Lilly Bivens.
Bivens had an outstanding night in setting up the big hitters. She finished with 42 assists.
Providence had another run a short while later on Maggie Purichia’s serve to make the score 21-8, and the Pioneers were on their way to the 25-12 set victory.
New Albany (20-14) opened the third set on an ace by Bree Martin for a 1-0 lead. This was the only lead the Bulldogs had the entire night.
The Pioneers struck back quickly and removed any remaining suspense. A five-point rally on the serve of Rush stretched the lead to 11-3. Later, Madison Kruer’s serve produced a four-point rally, giving the Pioneers a 20-7 advantage. Providence closed out the third set 25-11.
One of the things Providence worked hard to do was to prevent New Albany senior Allyson Cathey from taking over the match. They were effective at doing this. Cathey ended up with 11 kills.
“We could not let Allyson have the kind of game like she had the first time they played us, where I think she had something like 17 kills,” said Coach Purichia. “She was just a monster, and she has the ability to beat you single-handedly.
“Two things we felt like we had to do better than New Albany, and that was serve and pass. We focused on our serving and passing. No matter who we play, that is what is going to win it or lose it. Tonight our serving was really good, and our passing was really good. That opens up a lot of doors. We have some girls up front who can really hit the ball, and if we can get them the ball, then they can take care of it.”
Breeding liked the way his team played, despite the sweep.
“Here is what I was proud of - we played hard to the very end, and that’s what we talked about, play with pride and play with heart, never give up.
“Since the beginning of the year, we’ve come a long, long way. We’ve played well the last two weeks. I’m so proud of the kids tonight. I know the score does not say this. But as a coach, I know when they’re playing hard. They didn’t pout, they didn’t fight with each other, they fought hard to the very end, and that’s all you can ask for.”
For Terri Purichia, moving on, advancing is much more important than 32 wins in a row.
“I just try to focus on the very next one,” she said. “I’m not really very good at keeping track of that stuff. It doesn’t mean a whole lot to me. I think it’s important for our fans, but those things are not motivation for me.”
Her team’s accomplishments this year has surprised even her.
“I never thought the season would go like this with the team that I have, and the youth we have on this team. I’m so proud of them. They keep setting the bar higher, and then they smash it and keep raising it. The pride that I have with this team is overwhelming.”
Providence will play Floyd Central in the sectional semifinals at approximately 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Providence            25  25  25
New Albany          11  12  11
Ali Hornung 13 kills
Marissa Hornung 12 kills
Courtney Glotzbach 10 kills
A. Hornung 8 digs
M. Horning 8 digs
Lilly Bivens 42 assists
Hanna Mitchell 5 blocks
Ceci Rush 5 aces

Allyson Cathey 11 kills
Shea Collett 6 kills
Kyla Weber 20 assists
Bree Martin 1 ace
Danielle Grant 3 blocks
Cathey 9 digs
Collett 6 digs

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