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Providence Comes Back to Win on the Road, Downs West Nottingham 3-1

Photo: Sam Dixon

COLORA, MD – The Providence Griffins went on the road to face county rival West Nottingham Rams in Mid-Atlantic Independent League action this past Tuesday, coming away with a 20-25, 25-11, 25-20, 25-14 conference win . The Rams jumped out to a 9-4 lead in set one before Providence called an early timeout, hoping to interfere with freshman RJ Bass’ serving streak. Yet coming out of the break, setter Alessia Luconi found outsider hitter Jenniah Odige for a Rams’ kill. The Griffins were able to capitalize on a couple of Mackenzie Unruh aces, paired with some unforced errors on the Rams’ side of the net, to make it a new game with the score tied at thirteen. The remainder of set one was at a deadlock, each team exchanging points including two aces in a row for Griffins’ setter Amy Rash to put her team up 20-19 before the Rams were able to break away. Freshman Casey Bienkowski stepped up to the service line, knocking in five points including a game winning ace to put West Nottingham up 1-0.

Set two was all Providence, however. Rash continued to dominate at the service line, recording five aces while finding hitter Unruh for a couple of kills, including one out of the backrow to put the Griffins ahead 24-11 before winning the set to even up the match at 1-1. The action started to heat up in set three though, as both teams began playing more offense by generating attacks at the net. Unruh however, continued her success with backrow attacks including one that put the Griffins up 14-11. Odige did her best to rally for the Rams as the outside hitter recorded three of her six total kills to keep her team in the game, but it was Bass’ late service run that gave the most hope. Down 14-22, Bass rotated to the service line and knocked in six points to bring West Nottingham within two. Unfortunately for the Rams, a hitting error turned the ball over where Unruh capitalized by serving two aces in a row to close out game three to go ahead 2-1.

The Rams needed a set four win to stay alive in an important conference matchup. Outside hitter Nele Schulke certainly made her presence known for West Nottingham, knocking in four of her five kills in game four. The score would tie on five different occasions before Providence broke away, starting with a kill from freshman Brooklyn Coleman. The Griffins eventually cruised to a set four win, taking the match 3-1. “We played so well together” said Unruh, “There were adjustments we needed to make though, like with our backrow. We needed a fourth person in serve receive and that worked out.” Rash agreed, “we definitely needed to change up our serve receive but overall, our chemistry as a team was really good tonight.”

Rash finished the match with eight aces, 18 assists and 11 digs as Unruh recorded seven aces and eight kills. Odige led the Rams’ offense with six kills and three digs while Schulke knocked in five kills and four digs to go with Alessia Luconi’s six aces and four kills. Both Casey Bienkowski and RJ Bass recorded five aces for the Rams.

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