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Freemen remain undefeated at NCVF tourney to make Sweet 16
The Freemen men’s volleyball squad continued to roll at the NCVF National Tournament as they finished their round-robin play Friday without a blemish on their record. After starting the tourney with three straight wins, Providence knocked off Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Grove City College in succession to clinch a top-10 finish and earn a spot in the Sweet 16.
Providence started the day with a tough match-up against Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The Freemen came out on fire and controlled the match throughout as they played a strong passing game that was too much for a helpless WPI defence. In the end the Freemen took consecutive sets 25-18 and 25-11 to clinch the match. Freshmen Delmer Krahn (9 kills) and Kevin Hildebrand (4 kills) continued their strong play in the tournament leading the team offensively, and sophomore Ryan Hamm led the team defensively while grinding out 4 digs.
“The guys came out firing against WPI and were in control almost from start to finish,” Freemen head coach Jason Peters commented following the game. “We only got better as the match went on.”
The Freemen then finished off their round-robin schedule with a much-anticipated bout against Grove City College. The game featured a highly intense atmosphere, and a tough match-up for Providence as the Grove City ‘giants’ featured three players 6’7” or taller. However, the Freemen set the tone early on and took the first set 25-18. Grove City then returned the favour by stealing the next set 25-21, setting up a final-set showdown for the round-robin pool supremacy. In the end Providence rose to the challenge and left Grove City behind as they took the set 15-9 to earn a spot in the tournament’s Sweet 16. Sophomore Josh Friesen showed off his versatility by firing off 6 kills while compiling 4 blocks and 4 digs.
“We played a really good first set, only to struggle with our consistency in the second set,” coach Peters said. “The third set was ours right from the first point. We came out firing and were the aggressors early on.”
The Freemen now head into the tournament’s elimination gold bracket ranked #6 out of 16 teams, and are only four wins away from earning the National Title. As the tournament goes on Providence continues to improve, and, while coach Peters knows his toughest competition is now on the horizon, he remains confident that his squad will continue to be able to rise to the occasion.
“We will have our hands full, and have to play better than we have all year, but this team is capable of what it takes to win,” coach Peters said of his squad moving forward. “We will go after it and hopefully the result will be what we are looking for. We realize that we have a tremendous opportunity in front of us, and we plan to leave everything on the floor going after our goal.”
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