Tournament favorite and No. 2-ranked Providence got past Brownstown Central in the first round of the Class 3A Charlestown volleyball sectional Thursday, defeating the Braves 25-13, 25-16 and 25-15.
Each time the Braves got a bout of offense, Providence promptly found an answer.
Brownstown led 5-4 in the first game behind a couple big kills from the middle by Danielle Meyer and some strong serving by Richayla Huff.
The Braves hung with the Pioneers for the first minutes of each set and kept the score fairly even in the third through 14-14, thanks to a handful of Providence errors and a couple timely kills by Brooke Meyer and Morgan Wehmiller.
But Providence regrouped from that point and outscored Brownstown 11-2 to finish the game.
“We came out fighting,” Braves coach Jennifer Shade said. “We had a little bit of momentum in the first game than had a bad call that broke our momentum. The girls knew we were going to face a tough team. We (coaches) felt like they fought hard against that strong of an opponent.”
A decisive double block by Marissa Hornung and Mandy Barney started the roll that finished the match, though, giving the Pioneers the 18-14 lead and all the momentum they needed to shut the door on Brownstown.
“You don’t generally walk out of a sectional match with Brownstown with a 3-0 win, so I have to be pleased about that,” said Pioneers coach Terry Purichia. “They are always very well coached. Jennifer (Shade) does a great job of having them ready.”
Brownstown’s net offense was led by Meyer, a junior, who put down eight kills.
Shade said that Providence has a strong combination of offense and defense.
“I feel like Providence has the net play and power hitters that compliment their strong defense,” Shade said. “They are ranked second in the state and that’s probably where they fall.”
Leah Stidham, Braves’ the junior libero, dug up 10 Pioneer hits, and Huff handed out 18 assists.
The Braves will graduate seven seniors from this season’s team.
“It will be a tough loss for us to lose the seniors,” Shade said. “Most of the girls have played volleyball for years. Whether you lose in the state finals or in sectional, it’s the end of your volleyball career. Hopefully, what they’ve learned through our volleyball program they can use later in their life.”