November 22, 2013

Class 2A state title caps Providence’s storybook season

Our Lady of Providence Jr./Sr. High School players celebrate winning the Class 2A state volleyball championship on Nov. 9 at Ball State University’s Worthen Arena in Muncie. (Submitted photo)

Our Lady of Providence Jr./Sr. High School players celebrate winning the Class 2A state volleyball championship on Nov. 9 at Ball State University’s Worthen Arena in Muncie. (Submitted photo)

By John Shaughnessy

The girls jumped into each other’s arms before they all fell to the volleyball court in a tangled pile of pure joy and celebration.

On the sidelines, head coach Terri Purichia let her clipboard drop to the court, her tears flowing as her assistant coaches rushed to hug her.

It’s a scene and a feeling that Purichia says she will never forget—a scene and a feeling that overflowed with emotion immediately after the volleyball team of Our Lady of Providence Jr./Sr. High School in Clarksville won its first Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) championship in volleyball on Nov. 9.

“I found myself getting very emotional after the victory,” said Purichia whose team defeated Bishop Noll High School of Hammond, Ind., in the Class 2A championship by a score of 25-18, 25-15 and 25-20 at Ball State University’s Worthen Arena in Muncie. “I was so overwhelmed with pride and happiness.”

The victory capped a storybook season in which the Providence team finished with a record of 36-4—one more win than last year’s team which lost in the state championship match.

“That loss fueled the fire for 365 days,” Purichia noted.

Just as important, she said, were the leadership, chemistry, unity and talent that marked the team.

“They’ve been playing together for a few years, and they get along very well on the court and off the court,” Purichia said. “That chemistry is so critical.

“The second thing is that they have some talent. And they’ve put in a lot of time that makes them successful, too.”

Crucial to that success was the leadership of the seniors on the team, Maile Daniel, Mary Kate Meyer and Abby Spitznagel. Abby was the recipient of the Class 2A Mental Attitude Award.

“They’re good leaders by example,” Purichia said. “When your seniors behave in that way, your other players know no other way.”

For Purichia, the state championship was a fulfillment of a dream that started in 1986 when she was a freshman at Providence.

“I love this school and the people in it,” said Purichia, who has been the Providence volleyball coach since 1998. “I’ve been blessed as a player, a coach and a teacher to be part of this community.

“I know how hard so many people through the years have worked for this. We have such a tradition of excellence here, but we’ve never been able to bring a volleyball state championship back to Providence. To be able to do that for the school is such an awesome experience. It’s very meaningful for me to be a part of.

“It’s a feeling I won’t ever forget.” †

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