Forgive the Providence High girls’ volleyball team for feeling like it had rode a teeter totter for more than two hours.
Up and down the Pioneers – and their emotions – went when they competed in a Prep League home match against Flintridge Prep on Wednesday. Multiple rallies occurred before Providence found itself on the doorstep to victory.
With match point and a near-certain win on the horizon, Providence couldn’t close the deal and saw Flintridge Prep rally for a 25-14, 18-25, 12-25, 30-28, 15-9 victory.
Providence (2-9 in league) had multiple opportunities to put Flintridge Prep (4-5 in league) away in the pivotal fourth set. Instead, they couldn’t seal the win, leading to lost momentum and heartbreak the remainder of the match.
The Pioneers held a 24-21 advantage in the fourth set before the Wolves rallied to knot it at 24. Providence later tied it at 25 and 26 and took a 28-27 lead before three kills in a row by Abbie Callaway of Flintridge Prep evened the match at two sets apiece.
“It’s definitely a tough loss and we had played so well throughout compared to the first time we got swept by Flintridge Prep,” Providence assistant coach Steven Tozlian said. “We felt good about ourselves and we had an opportunity to take the fourth set and we just couldn’t close them out.
“Not being able to [win the fourth set] weighed on us heavily in the fifth set. We have a pretty young team and we just have to learn from it. We’ve been in a lot of close matches throughout the season, so we are making improvements. We just have to close the deal.”
Providence middle blocker/outside hitter Shannon Ferrell agreed.
“There was a lot of intensity on the court for both teams,” said Ferrell, who finished with nine kills and three aces. “The pressure was not on us in the fourth set and more on Flintridge Prep. We did a good job of pushing each other, but we just couldn’t [get match point].
“You always want to win. At the end of the day, it can go either way in a fifth set. They did a good job of closing it out. We should be proud for pushing them to a fifth set.”
In the fifth set, Providence tied it at 5 on a kill by Gabriella Aves. After the Pioneers even the score at 8 on a kill by Eleena Amirian (team-best 19 kills), the Wolves went on a 5-0 run to take a 13-8 lead. Callaway had two kills in the stretch, her second making it 13-8. Providence pulled to within 13-9 before Flintridge Prep registered the final two points to complete the two-match season series sweep against Providence.
Providence raced out to a 7-0 lead in the third set on an ace from Ferrell and later extended the lead to 18-5 following a block from Cailey Ocampo.
The Pioneers finished up the second set on a 6-0 run that included four aces from Aves. Aves finished with a team-high five aces.
The Wolves led throughout the first set, taking an 11-5 lead on an ace from Callaway.
“We did some things well and there are things we didn’t do too well,” Tozlian said. “We finished with 47 kills and 14 aces, but we had 16 serving errors.
“We had the match. We got to the fifth set and it was too late emotionally because you’re distressed.
Providence, which fell to Flintridge Prep, 25-10, 25-13, 25-16 on Sept. 9 at Flintridge Prep, got nine kills from Kylie DeVries.