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2/12 - Providence’s women’s volleyball squad faced off against the Red River College Rebels in a weekend home-and-home series to finish off the Lady Freemen’s regular season schedule.
And while the Lady Freemen came out flat at the Rebels gym Friday night losing the match in four sets (18-25, 26-24, 22-25, 23-25) they were able to rebound with a four-set match win (25-22, 25-22, 24-26, 25-19) of their own in the squad’s season finale played out on home court.
Providence struggled with their execution throughout Friday’s match and the Rebels were able to capitalize. In the first set the Rebels jumped out to an early lead, capitalizing on the Lady Freemen errors, and cruised to take it 25-18. But Providence responded well in the second-set behind strong hit-plays from junior captain Victoria Ryshytylo (9 kills, 8 digs, 2 blocks, 2 aces) and were able to pull out a tightly contested 26-24 win.
The Lady Freemen continued their momentum into the second set and saw themselves stay close until late, but once again fell victim to untimely execution errors. The Rebels took the set again to win 25-22. The Rebels jumped out to an early lead to start the fourth set, but the Lady Freemen, behind strong defensive play from freshman Jessica Hamm (6 kills, 8 digs, 1 ace), fought hard until the Rebels clinched the set and match point at 25-23. Freshman Madi Stott also gave a strong game performance with six kills, eight digs and an ace.
Providence head coach Scott Masterson says his squad gave themselves the opportunity to win throughout the match but just weren’t able to find the late clinching points. “Overall, this was a very frustrating match for our team,” Masterson says. “We felt like we couldn’t execute any part of our game and they seemed to be able to do anything and have it work.
“We were disappointed with the loss but felt the sets were close enough they could have gone either way. Today just wasn’t our day.”
But Providence found ‘their day’ the following afternoon when they hosted the Rebels in their home gym. The Lady Freemen got out to a strong start in the first set and were able to minimize their errors throughout the match. Freshman Chelsea Needham (11 kills, 7 digs, 3 aces, 1 block) found her niche early on to lead the Lady Freemen to a 25-22 first-set win. Providence then continued their momentum into the second set with an organized team attack led by freshman Christa Penner’s (28 assists, 6 aces, 3 blocks) well-placed sets to take it 25-22.
However, the Rebels were determined not to give up without a fight, and battled back in the third set to take the set in extra points 26-24. The Lady Freemen didn’t let the lost set put them back and quickly recovered in the fourth set to take the game convincingly with a 25-19 score. Ryshytylo once again gave a strong performance with 10 kills and nine blocks, while freshman Amanda Dueck added nine digs, six kills, two aces and one block.
The win left coach Masterson optimistic about his team’s play and says his girls couldn’t have peaked at a better time. “We came out with a positive attitude after a frustrating match the night before,” Masterson says. “We were able to execute our game plan effectively and it always felt as though we were in control of the match.
The Lady Freemen will now take a break from match play as they prepare for the MCAC Championship Tournament being held at Red River College on March 4 and 5.
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