Providence High volleyball beats Green Hope, advances to NCHSAA state final

Steve Lyttle, Langston Wertz Jr.
·6 min read

Providence ended an era in North Carolina girls’ volleyball Tuesday night, knocking off four-time defending 4A state champion Green Hope 3-1 in the Western Regional finals.

The Panthers’ reward: A berth in Saturday’s state championship match against another Raleigh-area powerhouse: Cardinal Gibbons.

Three other Observer-area teams also punched their tickets to the state finals Tuesday night.

In 3A, Cox Mill beat TC Roberson 3-0 and will face DH Conley (15-1) in the finals. Cox Mill won the 2016 state championship and will make its first appearance since then.

In 2A, Fred T. Foard beat West Wilkes 3-0 and remained unbeaten. The Tigers (18-0) will face McMichael (17-1) in the championship round. Foard is trying to repeat as state champions. The Tigers beat Ayden-Grifton 3-0 in the 2019 finals.

And in 1A, Mountain Island Charter beat Bishop McGuinness and improved to 18-0. It will face East Wake in Saturday’s final round. Mountain Island Charter is in the finals for the first time.

But the biggest of the regional finals was in 4A, where Green Hope was hoping to extend a dynasty and Providence -- which qualified for the finals for the first time since 2014 -- was hoping to end it.

Before the match, Providence coach Maggie Malone said her team was taking a positive approach to the meeting with Green Hope (13-1), which hadn’t lost in 30 matches.

“Someone will beat them eventually,” Malone said. “So why not us?”

The Panthers (18-0) dropped a well-played first set 25-23, then came back by scores of 30-28, 25-18, and 25-18.

The match pitted Green Hope’s tall and powerful front line, led by 6-foot freshman Belle Patrick, against a Providence team that scrambled to return many of the Falcons’ smashes and kept the Falcons off-balance with a combination of soft lobs and hard smashes.

Green Hope had lost only three sets all season, but Providence broke through in an error-filled second set.

The Panthers bolted to a 6-3 lead, then scrambled as Green Hope battled back and led 12-10. Madison Cail’s kill into the back right corner gave Providence a 13-12 lead, and while the set wasn’t decided until its 58th point, the Panthers trailed only once the rest of the way.

Providence’s winning point came on a shot by Ava Pritchett that landed just inside Green Hope’s back line.

The third set had 10 lead changes, but Providence went in front to stay, 13-12, on a kill by Cail. Trailing 20-18, Green Hope had a service error, and the Panthers finished with four straight points for the victory.

That was the first time any opponent had won two sets off Green Hope since early in the 2019 season.

The fourth set was tightly played much of the way. But with Providence up 17-16, the Panthers’ Katie Cruise and Cail scored on successive points for a 19-16 lead. That seemed to unravel the Falcons, and Providence finished with a 7-2 run.

THREE WHO MATTERED

Madison Cail, Providence: A senior, Cail leads the team in kills. And that’s what she did Tuesday night, with an unofficial total of 27.

Katie Cruise, Providence: Cruise is the Panthers’ quarterback, and she seemed to be everywhere Tuesday night and was especially effective returning shots from Green Level’s powerful front line.

Belle Patrick, Green Hope: Patrick has been the team leader all season in kills and digs, and she was a standout again Tuesday night, with 17 kills.

WORTH MENTIONING

Providence has reached the state finals by knocking off the West Region’s No. 1, 3 and 4 seeds. The Panthers were seeded fifth.

Winning as a No. 5 seed has meant a lot of travel. Providence has traveled to the N.C. mountains (McDowell County), Greensboro (Northwest Guilford) and the Raleigh area (Green Hope is in Cary). Saturday’s final is at Green Level High, also in Cary.

Tuesday’s victory broke the school all-time volleyball winning streak for Providence. The Panthers’ 18 consecutive victories eclipsed the 17-victory streak of the 2007 team.

Tuesday’s loss ended some remarkable streaks for coach Karl Redelfs’ Green Hope team. The Falcons hadn’t lost a match since Sept. 14, 2019, to Mater Dei of Santa Ana, Calif. They had won 82 in a row against North Carolina competition, last losing on Sept. 9, 2017, to North Raleigh Christian.

What’s more, Tuesday’s loss was Green Hope’s first against a North Carolina public school since the Falcons fell to Panther Creek on Oct. 4, 2016.

Steve Lyttle on Twitter: @slyttle

For the first time since 2014, Providence High’s Panthers are going to play for a state volleyball championship.

The Panthers (19-0) beat four-time state champion Green Hope, at Green Hope High, 3-1 Tuesday in the N.C. 4A Western Regional championship game.

Green Hope (13-1) won the first set 25-23. Providence took the second 30-28 and the third 25-18. The Panthers won the decisive fourth set 25-18 as well.

Providence (19-0) will play in Saturday’s N.C. 4A state final against another Wake County team. Cardinal Gibbons (16-0) beat Pinecrest in the N.C. 4A Eastern Regional championship game.

The Providence-Gibbons match will be Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Green Level high School in Raleigh.

Providence, which won the 2011 4A state title, will try to become the first Mecklenburg County 4A champion since Ardrey Kell won in 2012.

Providence High School was one of four Observer-area volleyball teams to advance to the regional championship Tuesday.

In 3A, unbeaten Cox Mill (17-0) played at host TC Roberson (16-1).

In 2A, unbeaten Fred T. Foard (17-0) played at West Wilkes (17-0).

And in 1A, Mountain Island Charter (17-0) played host to Bishop McGuinness (15-1).

Volleyball Playoff Results

Class 4A

West

Providence 3, Green Hope 1

East

Cardinal Gibbons 3, Pinecrest 0

Saturday’s state final at Green Level High: Providence (18-0) vs. Cardinal Gibbons (16-0) 3:30 p.m.

Class 3A

West

Cox Mill 3, TC Roberson 0

East

DH Conley 3, Rose 1

Saturday’s state final at Green Level High: DH Conley (15-1) vs. Cox Mill (18-0), 1 p.m.

Class 2A

West

Fred T. Foard 3, West Wilkes 0

East

McMichael 3, North Lenoir 0

Saturday’s state final at Green Level: McMichael (17-1) vs. Fred T. Foard (18-0), 10:30 a.m.

Class 1A

West

Mountain Island Charter 3, Bishop McGuinness 0

East

East Wake Academy 3, Perquimans 2

Saturday’s State Final at Green Level: East Wake (12-1) vs. Mountain Island Charter (18-0), 6 p.m.