Providence High volleyball is riding a wave of momentum at the right time.
The Panthers won their eighth straight volleyball match with a 3-0 victory against South Mecklenburg Tuesday at South to stay within a game of the SoMeck 8 4A lead. Providence (15-5 overall, 11-2 conference) is playing its best as it chases first-place Charlotte Catholic and keeps pace with Ardrey Kell, which was tied for second.
“It’s really tight between first, second and third right now,” Panthers coach Stephanie Harpenau said. “Our goal is we want to play our best volleyball at the end of the season for the conference tournament and the state tournament, and I think we’re starting to see that.”
Providence flexed its muscle throughout the match, especially on serves and passing, to keep South Mecklenburg (5-13, 4-9) off-balance. Senior libero Moni Brians tallied six service aces, while junior Hannah Wheeler paced the Panthers with 10 kills. Junior Kendall Bender complimented Wheeler’s power with five assists, while classmates Becky Porter and Madelyn Craig chipped in 15 and 12 assists each.
“We focus a lot on serving,” Harpenau said. “We practice serving every day, multiple times, so that’s a big thing for us. Serving and passing are key to the game, and that’s been our main priorities.”
South Mecklenburg struggled to keep pace with Providence’s attack as the Panthers gained confidence with each set. In the first set, South overcame a 6-3 deficit to go ahead 10-9, but Providence reeled off a 16-6 run to win. In the second, South led 6-4, but an 8-4 Providence rally put the Sabres in a hole they couldn’t escape.
“If we make the mistake of basically providing them with multiple free balls, any good team is going to take advantage of that,” South coach Brian Krebs said. “Providence is a good team, and that’s what they did.”
The Panthers have been very good during the streak, which has Providence in position to snatch to snatch an advantageous seed for postseason play.
“I think we’re seeing that transition and focus on getting better each match,” Harpenau said. “We obviously needed a win, it’s (South’s) Senior Night, so it was a big night for them. We just want to keep improving ourselves so we’re ready at the end of the season.”
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