Girls Volleyball: Providence overcomes Stagg
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media September 11, 2013 8:50PM
No skyscrapers in sight for the Providence Celtics.
With no player taller than 5-foot-11 on the roster, coach Rachel Ellingson jokes “We’re 5-foot-9 across the board.”
As was the case in Wednesday’s 25-27, 25-16, 25-9 win at Stagg, no height was no problem for the Celtics. Providence finished with 13 service aces.
“It’s definitely important to be a scrappy team, which we are, and the serving usually helps,” Providence’s Leah Alles said. “Height is not everything so we work on everything, especially blocking. You don’t need that height to be a good offensive team.”
Alles, a 5-foot-6 defensive specialist, led Providence (5-3) with 10 digs and five service aces Wednesday. Rachel Alles (6 kills, 8 assists), Annie Cummings (6 kills), Allie Marthaler (16 digs, 5 aces) and Maggie Turk (10 assists) also contributed.
After sluggish early against an energized Stagg squad, the Celtics came back to force set point twice in the first set, but Stagg’s Ari Mantas closed it with a kill and a service ace.
Taking the court for the second set, Providence appeared like a different team, especially at the service line. With the Celtics up 17-16, a Rachel Alles kill forced a sideout, with Alles’ sister, Leah, stepping up to serve. The senior closed the set on a 7-0 service run that featured four aces, including the winner.
“I have to get in a good mind-set,” Leah Alles said. “I have to keep an aggressive serve, not just a lollipop.”
The third set was much of the same, Clare Urchell (6-0 run, 2 aces) and Marthaler (8-0 run, 3 aces) both dominating from the service line. Marthaler’s run late put Providence up 22-7.
“We start off a little slow, but we come together as a team, and we are a good defensive team,” Marthaler said. “I’m watching to see where to hit, but the coaches do a great job telling us where to serve.”
Lexi Mantas (18 digs, 8 kills, 7 service points), Hannah Yandel (11 assists), Hannah Henderson (6 kills, 8 service points) and Ari Mantas (4 kills, 4 aces) led Stagg (3-5).
“We were so hyped the first game beating a good team like Providence,” Lexi Mantas said. “Our serve-receive went down (in the second and third sets). We were encouraging each other, but we got down on ourselves.”