PROVIDENCE HIGH — It was a battle that had the Providence High boys' volleyball team going down to defeat.
After losing the first two games of their CIF Southern Section Division V opening-round playoff match Tuesday to St. Bernard, the end appeared near for the No. 4-seeded Pioneers.
However, the Pioneers picked themselves up off the floor, refused to give in and began a valiant quest to at least make the contest respectable. Providence did much more than that, as it came back to sweep the next three games en rout to an emotional 19-25, 19-25, 25-22, 25-10, 15-13, win against the Vikings at home.
"I have to give our guys a great deal of credit," Providence Coach Josh Eggleston said. "They really picked themselves up and they battled back after losing those first two games. And they were being pushed around pretty good."
The Pioneers will take on either Downey Calvary Chapel or San Gorgonio in a second-round match Thursday at a site to be determined.
Providence (15-6) — the second-place team from the Liberty League — didn't look like a fourth-seeded team in the first two games against St. Bernard (13-14), the runner-up in the Camino Real League.
But the Pioneers persevered, forcing the crucial fifth game. However, it was the Vikings who captured the momentum early on in the fifth, clawing their way to an 11-6 advantage. But Providence embarked on a comeback, sparked by tough net play from Chester Bosworth and kills by Phil Harvey.
After a 5-0 run, the Pioneers tied the score at 11. The score was again tied, 12-12, and 13-13. Providence was able to take a one-point lead on a booming kill by Harvey. That was followed by the match-winner from Bosworth, who rolled a kill off the top of the net and onto the floor in front of the stunned Vikings.
"I guess the final result was to get the win," Eggleston said. "But this was a really nerve-wracking way to do it."
Harvey paced the Pioneers with 15 kills.
After taking a 2-0 games lead, the Vikings looked to close out the sweep, leading 20-19 in the third game. But kills by Harvey and Kris Galvez, coupled with three St. Bernard hitting errors and a net violation late in the game, allowed the Pioneers to win the stanza and stay alive.
Providence finally hit its stride in the fourth game after an 8-8 tie. The Pioneers embarked on a monumental 15-0 run to take a commanding 23-8 lead. The hosts ended the game on a 17-2 run to snatch the momentum of the match.