By KEVIN HARRIS
NEW ALBANY – The Providence Pioneers have had a lot of accomplishments in their history.
On Oct. 14 at The Doghouse, Providence added another achievement as it collected its first-ever Class 4A sectional championship.
The Pioneers downed Seymour in the Class 4A New Albany Sectional final 25-17, 25-16, 25-11. It was Providence’s 32nd sectional championship in program history and its seventh title in a row. The Pioneers (35-1) became the first program in IHSAA history to win sectionals in three different classes (2A, 3A and 4A). The defending Class 3A state runners-up moved up to Class 4A this season because of the success-factor rule.
“I was a little bit disappointed that we couldn’t bring a little bit more energy to the table tonight,” said Providence head coach Terri Purichia, whose squad extended its school-record win streak to 34 matches. “But a 4A sectional championship is so exciting and so impressive. This team is so impressive in so many ways and I’m so proud of them.”
The Pioneers expended lots of energy in the afternoon when they defeated archrival Floyd Central in the sectional semifinal 15-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-20. The Owls (8-25) also had a very competitive semifinal earlier in the day when they ousted Bedford North Lawrence 25-21, 19-25, 17-25, 29-27, 15-13.
“They were so emotionally out of gas and that is not an excuse,” Purichia said about her players. “It’s just how it is. It was really hard to rebound after that. I think Seymour had a hard time doing the same thing because they had a really emotional victory over Bedford.
“That wasn’t the greatest of championship matches for either team. We just did enough to survive and advance.”
Two of Purichia’s top hitters – senior Marissa Hornung and sophomore Courtney Glotzbach – helped Providence collect another sectional championship.
Hornung led the Pioneers in kills with 14. More importantly, Providence’s lone senior provided her teammates the leadership they needed to win the sectional title.
“I can’t explain it. It is phenomenal. She is one of the best leaders that I have been blessed enough to coach,” Purichia said. “It’s so hard to be a senior class of one – it is. And I wouldn’t want to have it any other way because she has just accepted that role and just blossomed. She’s really responded to bringing this team together.”
Glotzbach ended up with 12 kills. In the semifinals and championship combined, she smacked 28 kills with 16 coming against the Highlanders.
“I think Courtney was our MVP today. She was here to play. Courtney really, really played good for us on both ends, both blocking the ball and offensively,” Purichia said.
Providence setter Lilly Bivens distributed 37 assists and teammate Ali Hornung had 10 kills.
CLASS 4A NEW ALBANY SECTIONAL
PROVIDENCE 3, SEYMOUR 0
Seymour 17 16 11
Providence 25 25 25
Marissa Hornung: 14 kills, 6 digs.
Courtney Glotzbach: 12 kills.
Ali Hornung: 10 kills, 4 digs, 1 ace.
Hanna Mitchell: 6 kills, 2 assists.
Lilly Bivens: 37 assists, 4 digs, 1 block.
Madison Kruer: 4 digs, 2 assists.
Ceci Rush: 4 digs.
Megan Flanagan: 1 ace.