The win put the Pioneers (23-3) into the playoff semifinals for the first time in school history. More significant, however, is the fact that girls' volleyball is only the third sport in Providence history to advance to a semifinal. The Pioneer baseball team won a Small Schools championship in 1986 and the 2006 boys' volleyball team — coached by Jimenez — advanced to a title match.
Providence was able to secure the historic accomplishment with a fine effort in the crucial fifth game against Pasadena Poly (16-5).
"I think I was more nervous than the girls were in that fifth game," said Jimenez, whose team earned a share of the Liberty League title this year. "That was such a nerve-wracking game. I'm just happy we were able to pull out the win."
After the Panthers tied the match by winning the fourth game, Jimenez said he gave his team specific pointers about how to approach the fifth game.
"I told them that they have to make [Pasadena Poly] earn every point that they get," he said. "I wanted to make sure that we didn't give up easy points in the game."
The Pioneers did just as their coach asked. However, the Panthers didn't exactly what their opponent was trying to avoid. They committed five hitting errors and two service errors in the fifth game.
Providence was able to jump out to a 6-3 lead in the game, aided by two hitting errors and one service error by Pasadena Poly.
However, the Panthers were able to claw back on the play of senior outside hitter Renee Duncan-Mestel, who tallied five kills in the game. She finished with a match-high 25 kills.
Pasadena Poly tied the game at 9 before a kill by Pioneer senior outside hitter Heather Hansen (16 kills, 10 digs) put the Pioneers up by one. After another Pioneer point the Panthers came back to knot the contest at 12.