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Keepin’ it Klassen
Dallen Klassen (11 kills, 6 digs)

Freshman Dallen Klassen’s 11 kill effort leads Freemen to 3-set sweep over St. Boniface

The Providence Freemen entered Wednesday night’s match-up in Winnipeg against St. Boniface University hoping to take the first of four scheduled meetings between the clubs this season. After winning three straight sets (25-19, 25-15, 34-32) to take the match, the Freemen were able to do just that while showing no signs of rust in their first game in over a month.

“It was our most complete effort so far this season,” Freemen head Coach Jason Peters said following the game. “We have talked a lot about playing a complete match, and tonight we made progress in that regard.”

The Freemen came out of the gates with an extra hop in their step as they hoped to use the match-up against St. Boniface to start the second half of their season off on the right foot. The two teams battled through the first set, but, led behind a couple of key kills from freshman Kevin Hildebrand (10 kills, 4 stuff blocks), the Freemen were able to earn the edge en route to a 25-19 set victory. Providence then put on an even more impressive performance in the second set as they took it in convincing fashion with a 25-15 score.

However, St. Boniface refused to go down without a fight, as they showed resilience in the third set and held a convincing 22-15 late set lead. The set then took a turn following a timely timeout from Coach Peters and behind a strong defensive effort from sophomore libero Ryan Hamm (9 digs) as the Freemen squad slowly started to claw back into the set to come within four. The rally seemed destined to be short-lived though as St. Boniface hammered home its 24th point to put them within one of the set victory. But once again the Freemen showed determination as they fought back into the match to take it into extra points.

The two teams then exchanged service after service as they battled to reach the two-point differential needed to clinch the set. However, freshman left side Dallen Klassen (11 kills, 6 digs) stepped up his play late in the game to help his Freemen side earn a 33-32 advantage. It was then that freshman middle Bryton Arnal came up with a huge block off a St. Boniface kill attempt for the game and match point, as the Freemen took the set 34-32

Freemen coach Peters was impressed with the continued progress that he sees coming out of his squad following the game, and had high regards for the heart and character shown by his players in the late third-set comeback.

“The guys played a very strong match today complete with a great comeback,” Coach Peters commented. “After pretty much controlling the match, we fell behind in the third set. But we were able to fight our way back into the set, eventually coming out on top of the see saw battle.”

“There is still plenty of work to do, but it was a great start to our winter semester.”

Notes: Arnal came down awkwardly on his ankle following his game-winning block and is out indefinitely with a sprain…the Freemen’s next game is a re-match Friday at home against St. Boniface.

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