PROVIDENCE — Just to get to the championship game of the inaugural Liberty League tournament, the Providence High girls' volleyball team had to rewrite history, sweeping a Holy Martyrs team in Monday's semifinal which had previously swept it during the regular season.
Repeating that feat in the championship match against Pacifica Christian, though, proved too much to ask on Tuesday night at Providence High School, as the Seawolves came away with a 25-19, 25-16, 21-25, 25-17 victory to secure the Liberty League crown.
The Seawolves previously swept Providence on Oct. 16.
"I told the girls, 'You aren't going to have a perfect game, but you have to play almost close to it," Providence Coach James Jimenez said. "We had to serve tough. Once they pass into their system, it's hard to stop that way."
Unfortunately, while the Pioneers had some success keeping the ball away from Pacifica's tall front line, they couldn't do it with consistency, as Seawolves outside hitters Shari Volpis (11 kills) and Grace Minchin (14 kills) made life difficult for Providence.
The Pioneers (16-8) didn't go down easily, though, rallying from down, 2-0, in games to win the third game, 25-21. In the game, Providence took a commanding 18-9 lead on a 13-4 run, before weathering a furious comeback attempt by Pacifica Christian (19-5) to hold on for the win.
"We made a lot of errors and lost our focus a little bit," said Pacifica Coach Julie Bennett of game three. "It's something we've worked on all year."
The Pioneers hung around in each of the first two games, as well, using flashes of solid offense, combined with Pacifica Christian errors to take a 16-15 lead in game one and come as close as 21-16 late in game two.
Both times, though, the Seawolves asserted themselves on the backs of Minchin and Volpis, as well as the presence of 6-foot-1-inch middle blocker Shanon Volpis (six kills, four blocks) to take a commanding 2-0 lead.
For Providence, Nikka Adraneda led with 22 digs, while Jennifer Nardoni tacked on 12 more and 25 assists. Lorena Ubillus had eight kills and 13 digs.
Despite Tuesday's defeat, Pacifica will advance into the CIF-Southern Section Division IVA playoffs as the Liberty League's No. 2 seed. And the Pioneers are hopeful the momentum they picked up during the Liberty League tournament will propel them to a postseason run.
"We played a lot better this time than last time we played [Pacifica and Holy Martyrs]," Nardoni said. "We're way more consistent in serve and we play together better. We're pretty confident."