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Freemen Ice Blazers
Delmer Krahn with an attack

Providence men edge CMU in 5 set thriller

“The Providence vs. CMU rivalry goes back many years,” Freemen Coach Jason Peters foreshadowed. “It always seems to provoke tough, emotional battles when we get together.”

Delmer Krahn had 18 kills while freshman Kevin Hildebrandt had 15 of his own to lead the Providence Freemen to a five-set thriller (25-16, 26-24, 19-25, 23-25, 15-12) over school rivals the Canadian Mennonite University Blazers.

The Freemen jumped out to a good start behind the push of a lively, standing-room only crowd that included Prov’s own Blue Man Crew. Providence was able to take the upper hand early and coasted to a decisive 25-16 first set victory.

Providence then jumped out to an early 10-4 lead in the second set and they appeared destined to send the Blazers home quickly. However, CMU started to rally back and were able to catch the Freemen at 15-15. The two sides then kept the crowd on its toes for the rest of the set as the teams traded points to stay close until each had their 24th point. But it was Providence who were able to finally pull away as they worked off two strong services from freshman Bryton Arnal, including a set-winning let ace, to take it 26-24.

The Blazers then came out in the third set with a more confident approach and jumped out to an early 8-5 set lead. The squad, led by several lethal kills from middle Paul Peters, never looked back as they kept their lead throughout and took the set 25-19.

Both teams, realizing the importance of the fourth set, gave the crowd the most exciting back-and-forth action of the night. The squads stayed within two points of each other in a set that featured an “anything you can do I can do better” mentality as each side had an answer for the other’s last big play. The set also played host to the most exciting rally of the night that saw Freemen junior Jesse Lofthouse pull out a monster dig against a ridiculous hit from the Blazers’ Paul Peters, only to have Peters smoke an even bigger kill on CMU’s return to take the point. The Blazers continued on to finish the set with a 25-23 score to send the game into a fifth and deciding set.

The Blazers’ rally would be stopped there though as the Freemen played smart ball again in the fifth set and took a 10-6 lead. Krahn then pummeled four unreturnable kills at a helpless CMU defense to lead the Freemen to a 15-12 final set score to take one of the most memorable battles in recent memories.

Coach Peters was happy with his team’s end result, but left the game knowing that his squad still needs to find a greater level of consistency to be competitive as the season wears on.

“We played a solid first set, showed flashes in sets 2-4, and in the fifth set we were better again,” Coach Peters commented after the game. “I didn't feel that we were at our best tonight. When we play consistent ball for an entire set, or match, we are going to be tough to beat, but we need to improve on our consistency and learn to control match momentum better.

“Overall, I am pleased that we were able to pull out a win tonight, especially in front of a great home crowd.”

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