(11-5-22) Top-ranked Providence returned to the top of the mountain with a 3-1 win (25-15, 25-16, 22-25, 25-16) over Bellmont in the Class 3A championship match.
Providence started quickly and appeared headed for a straight-set win after building up a six-point lead in set three only to see Bellmont fight back, then take a nice lead in set four. However, despite being down 9-4 in set four, coach Terri Purichia’s Pioneers revived themselves and rallied for a nine-point win to claim the championship.
The victory for the Pioneers (31-6) is the fourth state title to go with victories in Class 2A in 2013 and 2014 and a 3A title in 2015. Providence also finished as runner-up in 2A in 2012 and 3A in 2016.
Sophomore Abby Julius led the hitting parade for the winners as she recorded 15 kills, while teammates Lilly Kaiser and Makenzie Wagner each had 14 and Lilly Tappel chipped in with 12. Tappel also had a match-high 23 digs.
Fourth-ranked Bellmont (30-7) got 15 kills from Hailey Cole and 13 from Delaney Lawson.
Coach Craig Krull’s Braves have now finished as runner-up in three of the last four years (also in 2019 and 2021) after winning titles in 2007 and 2010.
Following the match, Grace Purichia of Providence High School was announced as the recipient of the Mental Attitude Award by the IHSAA Executive Committee.
In the classroom, Grace owns a 4.2 GPA, is a member of the National Honor Society, Yearbook Staff, and Spanish Club.
Awarded the Best & Brightest Award her senior year from the American Volleyball Coaches Association, Grace is a four-year varsity starter, was selected as the News and Tribune Player of the Year for the 2021 season and was named PHS Female Athlete of the Year in 2021. Grace also takes time out of her busy schedule to volunteer at St. Elizabeth Home, Holy Family Parish, and with In Heaven’s Eye, recording 125 hours of service.
She is the daughter of Terri and Jeff Purichia of New Albany, IN and will attend Jacksonville State University on a full ride volleyball scholarship where she plans to study business with a concentration in marketing.
The Mental Attitude Award is annually presented to a senior, who is nominated by her principal and coach, and has demonstrated excellence in mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability during her four years of high school.
Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, a corporate partner of the IHSAA, presented a $1,000 scholarship to Providence High School’s general scholarship fund in the name of Grace Purichia.