Providence’s seniors weren’t willing to quit just yet, though, as the Pioneers rallied for a 25-18, 22-25, 25-27, 25-18, 15-7 first-round victory at home.
The Pioneers (16-6) will next play third-seeded St. Margaret’s or Azusa at 7 p.m. in Thursday’s second round.
“We definitely had opportunities to win in three, but give Rio Hondo a lot of credit,” said Jimenez, whose team shared the league title with Viewpoint, but earned the league’s top seed.
Jimenez gave the Kares (18-10) credit for their stubborn defense and balanced offense.
“We were getting good hits, but they were getting everything up,” Jimenez said.
Rio Hondo Prep’s Tiffany Horton and Emily Wennerberg put a scare into the Pioneers, as they combined for 36 kills.
But Providence also had its own dynamic combo in twin seniors Fio and Galia Sotomayor, who carried the Pioneers through the fourth and fifth games.
Galia Sotomayor had five kills and a block in the fourth game, and her sister provided three kills and a block in the deciding game.
The sisters combined for 38 kills, as Galia Sotomayor finished with a match-high 24 kills.
“Galia has been carrying us all season,” Jimenez said. “We knew [the twins] would be our leaders, and they sure were [Tuesday].”
Providence senior setter Kristin Huynh had 40 assists and Alexis Mitchell had six kills and seven blocks.