BURBANK — After wrapping up their CIF Southern Section Division V first-round playoff match, the members of the Providence High boys’ volleyball team noticed some pluses and minuses.
On the positive side, the Pioneers got another strong effort from both Phil Harvey and Taylor Saldana. On the other end of the spectrum, the Pioneers agreed they need to work on raising their concentration level throughout an entire contest.
Providence received 14 kills from Harvey and nine from Saldana on Tuesday to earn a 25-6, 26-24, 23-25, 25-15 home victory against California Academy of Math and Science.
“The first game was pretty simple, but our concentration just seemed to wane at times in the next couple of games,” said Providence Coach Josh Eggleston, who guided the Pioneers (16-9) to the Liberty League championship. “We have to learn to be able to stay focused in certain situations because sometimes confidence can be replaced by tension.
“That happened some times during league. Overall, I thought we played pretty well.”
Providence will next compete in a second-round match against Ontario Christian or Bishop Amat on Thursday at a site to be determined. California Academy of Math and Science, which placed third in the Delphic League, finished at 4-8.
The Pioneers appeared to have things in hand right from the start against the Rebels, leading throughout the first game. A kill by Harvey gave the Pioneers a commanding 15-3 advantage. Harvey had three kills in the opening game.
“We started out real well,” Harvey said. “After the first game, maybe it was a case of us not taking things seriously.
“It pretty much comes down to being able to concentrate at all times. You can’t stop the intensity.”
Aaron Dizon of Providence registered a kill in the second game to give Providence an 8-5 lead. The Rebels took a 20-18 lead on a kill by Anthony Diep. However, Providence used a 4-0 run to regain the lead at 22-20 and made it 23-21 on a kill by Harvey.
The Rebels tied it at 24 before Saldana recorded two kills in a row to give the Pioneers a 2-0 lead in games.
“Those were two big kills right there by Taylor,” Eggleston said. “I think Taylor had his best [match] of the year.”
The Pioneers appeared on the verge of recording a sweep, jumping out to an 8-2 lead in the third game on a block by Dizon. However, the Rebels regrouped to take a 21-17 lead on a kill by Zachary Miller. Providence pulled to within 24-23 on a kill by Kieran McGroarty, but the Rebels picked up the last point to force a fourth game.
The Pioneers never trailed in the fourth game. A kill by Saldana gave Providence a 12-9 lead. The Rebels could get no closer than 17-13 before Providence finished up on an 8-2 run that was capped by an ace from McGroarty.