GLENDALE — The Providence High boys' volleyball team definitely has motivation heading into the last few weeks of the regular season.
Coming into Thursday's match with host Glendale Adventist Academy, the Pioneers were one match out of first place in the Liberty League and were attempting to stay in position to win a share of the league crown.
For the Cougars, they have a less lofty goal. With a young team and many players who've never played competitive volleyball, Glendale Adventist just hopes to improve with each match and hopefully get some wins along the way.
A win against a tough Providence team was just not in the cards for the Cougars, as they were only able to stay with the Pioneers early in the first two games and nearly pulled off a victory in the third. However, Providence was able to weather all of the threats to come away with a 25-13, 25-9, 25-23 victory.
Providence Coach Josh Eggleston, whose team is ranked No. 5 in CIF Southern Section Division V, said his team experienced some problems with the pace the Cougars brought to the match.
"The pace was a little different than what we're used to," said Eggleston, whose team improved to 12-5, 6-1 in league. "But the problem wasn't with our pace, but with the pace of [Glendale Adventist]. We should have done a better job at adapting to that pace, especially in the third game."
The third game was the most competitive, as the Cougars (0-7 in league) pushed the Pioneers late in the stanza.
After battling its way back, Glendale Adventist took the lead, 22-21, on a Providence hitting error. However, the Pioneers were able to regain the lead, 23-22, following a kill by Gabe Cruz and a net violation by the Cougars. A Pioneers kill by Phil Harvey put the visitors up by two, before a Providence hitting error made it a one-point game. Jackson Saldana was then able to deliver a kill to end the contest.
"It's just taking time, but we are getting better," Glendale Adventist Coach Ken Vigila said. "In that third game, we told them to just hold their heads up and go out and play. I'm very happy with the way that we played in the third game."
Providence received seven kills from Kris Galvez and six from Harvey.
The Cougars were in the first game early, taking a 5-4 advantage. After holding their own later in the game, Providence enjoyed just a two-point lead, 14-12. But Providence embarked on a big 11-1 run the remainder of the stanza to close it out.
It was the same story in the second game. Glendale Adventist tied the game at 4 before the Pioneers went on a 10-1 run to jump in front 14-5. The visitors were able to coast the remainder of the way.
Alex Santos had five kills and Justin Budge added four for Glendale Adventist.
"Playing like we did in the third game is a big positive for us," Vigila said. "It shows some of the younger players what we might be capable of in the future."