Providence hadn’t lost a volleyball match against an in-state opponent all year heading into Saturday night’s Class 4A regional title match.
Center Grove planned on changing that, but the Pioneers simply had too much firepower, finishing off the Trojans’ season with a 25-18, 25-27, 25-18, 25-21 triumph.
Providence (37-1), ranked third in Class 4A and seventh nationally in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25, got double-digit kills from each of their top three hitters: Courtney Glotzbach, Ali Hornung and Purdue-bound Marissa Hornung. Center Grove didn’t really have an answer for much of the night.
“Overall, we really struggled with our serve receive and passing,” Trojan senior Ellen LeMasters said. “We struggled with blocks. But they were a good team, and they gave it to us.”
Glotzbach was the go-to girl for Providence in the first set, capping a run of five straight points with a block and a kill to put the Pioneers up 21-15, then finishing the set off with her seventh kill.
In the second, the Trojans rallied all the way back from an early seven-point deficit to tie it at 24-24. Providence pulled back in front and had a set point, but Ellen LeMasters bookended a pair of kills around a Taylor Dempewolf block to even up the match at a set apiece.
“When we passed well, we were able to open up our middles and set everyone,” LeMasters said. “We just gained a lot of momentum.”
Down 17-9 in the third, Center Grove made a run to get within two at 18-16, but Providence gathered itself and kept the Trojans at arm’s length the rest of the way.
Center Grove started the fourth set strong, taking a 10-6 lead, before the Pioneers reeled off eight points in a row to go on top. The Trojans fought back to get within a point at 21-20, but Providence ended the match the way it began it, going back to Glotzach for its final four points.
LeMasters finished the match with 21 kills for Center Grove, while Emma Jones added 11. Devynn Merriman had 17 digs on the back row.
Earlier in the day, the Trojans made quick work of Castle in a 25-18, 25-15, 25-15 semifinal win.
The opening set was tight until kills by Jones and LeMasters started an 8-1 run that put the Trojans comfortably ahead, 18-9. Center Grove scored seven straight points to pull ahead for good in the second, and after breaking a 6-6 tie in the third it led fairly comfortably the rest of the way.
Against Providence, it was a different story — but despite the disappointment of the final defeat, the four Trojan seniors (Dempewolf, Jones, LeMasters and Merriman) still had an enjoyable season.
“It was so much fun,” Jones said. “We just all got along so well and we all worked hard for it, and we played as well as we can. I’m so proud of them.”