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Pioneers shaky in semifinal

Jeff Tully

The Providence High girls’ team had little trouble dispensing of all

of its opponents in the early going of the Village Christian Summer

Volleyball League.

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The Pioneers showed poise and played under control to win their

first eight matches.

However, in the gold bracket semifinal contest Wednesday,

Providence looked skittish and didn’t play particularly well in a

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25-20, 25-19 loss to host Village Christian.

“We looked a little scared out there [Wednesday],” Pioneer Coach

James Jimenez said. “We just didn’t play very well.

“This was our biggest [match] of the summer and maybe we weren’t

pushed that much in the other contests.”

Along with pointing out his team’s struggles, Jimenez was also

gracious in acknowledging the Crusaders’ strengths.

“Village Christian is a good team,” he said. “They played well and

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they had a lot of touches. I have to give them their credit.”

Despite the loss, Providence (9-1) was able to bounce back and win

the Gold Bracket third-place game, downing the Valencia junior

varsity team, 25-18, 27-25.

Village Christian (8-2), which includes three Burbank residents,

carried its momentum into the championship match, where it defeated

Holy Family, 25-27, 25-15, 15-9.

One of the driving forces for the Crusaders in the win against the

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Pioneers was the play of senior and resident Jackie Ruiz. Ruiz, along

with Jenna Kapuscinski and Alex Dill, frustrated the Pioneers and

controlled play at the net.

Heather Sanders and Allyce Archie played well in the championship

match.

“We are playing well as a team right now,” said Ruiz, who is also

an All-CIF softball player for the Crusaders.

“We have a new coach in Nancy [Tinkham] and she has really helped

us improve. She is going to help put Village Christian back to a very

successful program. She is just great.”

The team’s other residents are Jacqueline Franklin and Amy Stone.

Providence received fine play from Vanessa Amran, Heather Hansen

and Natalah Hernandez.

In the first game, the Pioneers couldn’t take advantage of 12

Village Christian hitting errors and trailed for most of the stanza.

Providence was hampered by 12 hitting errors and four service

errors of its own.

After finally taking a lead at 9-8, and again at, 11-10, the

Pioneers’ mistakes allowed the Crusaders to go on an 8-1 run to

retake the lead.

Providence tried to make a run late in the game, but with the

Crusaders leading, 23-17, the Pioneers committed a service error that

allowed Village Christian to take control.

In the second game, the Pioneers took an early lead, but the

Crusaders dominated play in the middle and Providence’s play started

to slip.

Overall, it was a fine showing for the Pioneers in the event, as

they had a 19-3 games record.

Along with Providence, the other three area schools -- Burbank,

Burroughs and Bellarmine-Jefferson -- also took part in the summer

league.

The Indians looked good on Wednesday, capturing the silver bracket

final (for fifth place) against the cross-town rival Bulldogs, 27-25,

25-15.

“We have been looking pretty well during the summer,” said

Burroughs Coach Edwin Real, whose team went 7-3 during the summer

league. “We have some good players who are really improving.”

The Indians came on in the closing weeks of the tournament,

winning four matches in a row after opening the competition 3-3.

Against Burbank (6-3; sixth place), Burroughs led most of the way.

However, the Bulldogs made a late surge to briefly take the lead,

25-24.

However, Burbank couldn’t close out the game and the Indians came

back to salvage the win.

It was all Burroughs in the second game, as it dominated play to

capture the championship.

Burroughs defeated Immaculate Heart, 25-11, 25-18, to advance to

the bracket final.

The Bulldogs earned a place in the title match by defeating

Bell-Jeff, 25-19, 25-23.

Burbank will end its summer today as it takes part in the

Occidental Tournament at Occidental College.

The Guards (4-6) closed out the tournament by falling to

Immaculate Heart, 15-25, 25-21, 15-9. Bell-Jeff had the distinction

of winning the only game against the Providence prior to the

Pioneers’ loss to Village Christian.


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