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Pikhart earns Liberty League's top award

Pikhart earns Liberty League's top award
Providence High's Zack Pikhart led the Pioneers to a Liberty League championship. (Miguel Vasconcellos)

Making the Providence High boys’ volleyball team as a freshman, Zack Pikhart was still searching for a league crown.

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In three previous seasons, the outside hitter/opposite enjoyed his share of personal success, but the Pioneers were never able to win the Liberty League championship.

“That was really something that I was hoping for being a senior and all,” Pikhart said. “Being on varsity for four years, I played on some good teams with some good players. But when it came down to it, we were never able to get that league championship banner.”

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As a senior, Pikhart was finally able to bring that title to Providence, as he led the Pioneers to their first Liberty League crown since 2014.

For his efforts, Pikhart was named the Liberty League Player of the Year. Earning spots on the singular All-Liberty League team were Pioneers senior libero Weston Tengan, sophomore setter Gerald Martin and freshman middle blocker Nick Tidik.

“It was really great to be able to win the title. It was a sense of accomplishment for all of us,” Pikhart said. “Winning the league this year was an achievement and it’s nice to kind of have something to leave behind.

“It was something that we worked very hard to accomplish and it means a lot.”

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It was a remarkable turnaround for the Pioneers, who finished 19-6, 7-1 in league under second-year coach Nicole Brouillard. The previous season, Providence went 7-14 and didn’t make the CIF Southern Section playoffs after finishing 1-6 in league.

“The year prior it was a new team and we had a new coach and we all were all kind of trying to figure each other out and figure out what our places are on the team were,” Pikhart said. “This year it was the same returning team and it felt right off the bat that we all knew our roles and we all knew what we had to do.

“We just played and tried to get better for each other, not just for ourselves. That’s when we started progressing and getting better like crazy. It was really great so see just how much we improved as a team.”

Pikhart led the team in kills with 284 and also had 93 digs, 28 blocks and 16 aces.

“When I needed something Zack did it,” said Brouillard, whose squad advanced to the Division VI quarterfinals. “I relied on Zack all season. I would just look at my setters and tell them ‘Set Zack now!’ He hit over 60% for us and there’s no reason to not be setting him because he comes through so much for us.

“He was the go-to person for us and he just improved so much from last season to this season. As a young man and a player, he was just able to grow so much and that was so enjoyable to see. … I am already missing him.”

Tengan, who was the league player of the year for the Providence boys’ soccer team, contributed 167 digs, 16 kills and 14 aces.

“Weston was the best defensive player by far for us,” Brouillard said. “His defense was just crazy at times. We as coaches sometimes couldn’t understand how he was able to get to some of the balls that he got to. His ability to read plays and where the ball is going to go is amazing. He is just so quick and aggressive and, if you need a play, he is the one who wants to make it for you. He loves the big moments.”

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Martin contributed 225 assists, 73 digs, 43 kills, 17 aces and 12 blocks.

“Gerald was really solid and what was great about him is his serving,” Brouillard said. “He served very well for us and he really knows how to serve zones and certain people. He was also very consistent as a player and he has really excelled as a player for our team.”

Tidik finished with 123 kills and 23 blocks.

“When he first started, he was coming off playing on lower nets and for him it was a little bit of a shocker when we started,” Brouillard said. “But he really came along nicely, he improved so much during the year and we can’t wait to see what he’s going to do in the years to come.”

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