MUNCIE | Bishop Noll's volleyball team thought it was fast.
Then the Warriors met Providence in the Class 2A state championship game.
"They're just like us, a high-caliber team, and they're very, very fast," coach Dave Rodriguez said. "I thought we were fast and at one point I looked at my assistant and said, 'we need to be faster.'"
Providence won its first state title, beating Bishop Noll in its first appearance in the state championship game 25-18, 25-15, 25-20.
"They move quicker and their sets were a lot quicker and lower to the net," Asya Hobbs said. "I think we could have played better, but it just didn't happen. We've never been here before and had never experienced anything like this before."
While Rodriguez compared Providence to Andrean, which the Warriors beat in the regular season in four games, because of the talent at the front row, the Warriors hadn't seen the defensive speed.
The Pioneers (36-4) had 48 digs as a team, led by 15 from libero Audrey Shannon. Up front, Taylor Wilson's 14 kills and Haley Libs' 11 led the Providence offense.
Junior outside hitter Carly Cappello, who has played in three national championship games in club volleyball, led the Warriors with 14 kills.
"When (Rodriguez) talks to me he says, 'you've been here before, this is your game,'" Cappello said. "We've never been here, like been to state before, but I've been to championship games so he wants me to lead the team."
While Bishop Noll (30-10) played in its first volleyball state championship, and the first title game of any team from Lake or Porter counties, the Pioneers were marking their seventh finals appearance.
Providence finished its season winning 17 consecutive matches and not dropping a game since Sept. 25 against Kentucky's Sacred Heart, a stretch of 47 straight wins.
After Noll fell behind early in games one and two, the Warriors took their first lead of the match at 2-1 in game three, extending to 3-1 before Providence made a comeback. Bishop Noll used a 5-1 run late to pull within 21-19.
In addition to Cappello's 14 kills and 13 digs, senior Hobbs added seven kills and senior Carissa Jones had two kills with five digs.
"This is something that we can defend and we need to go back and work on for next year," Rodriguez said, "because we will be back next year."