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A Paul-easant Surprise
Paul Warkentine (38 assits, 2 stuff blocks)

Paul Warkentine gives 38 assists in Freemen win over St. Boniface

The St. Boniface Voyageurs travelled to Providence Friday night looking for revenge after losing to the Freemen in three sets only two nights before. However, the Freemen had other plans and sent the Voyageurs home after taking the match in four sets 25-14, 25-17, 18-25, 25-21.

“We were able to control play with our serve, and we played well on defence and in serve receive,” Freemen coach Jason Peters commented. “We are still looking to improve our consistency over the duration of a complete match, but we have made strides in that area.”

In their first home game of the new year the Freemen came out on fire and gave the crowd a show early on. Providence played good, smart volleyball throughout the first two sets to take them 25-14 and 25-17. The two sets featured smart distribution from Captain Paul Warkentine (38 assists, 2 stuff blocks) and numerous highlight kills from the Freemen side, including two blistering roofs from freshman Kevin Hildebrand.

However, the Voyageurs were not ready to go down without a fight, and they gave just that in the third set. After exchanging points early in the set, the Voyageurs were finally able to pull together to take their first lead of the game at 5-4. St. Boniface then continued with their improved play as they built a four point, 11-7 lead at the midway point of the game. However, the Freemen were able to claw back to within two points of the Voyageurs at 14-12, in a set that had Providence players reminiscing about their third-set 7-point comeback Wednesday night. But those thoughts were stopped short as the Voyageurs regained their composure and began to pull away until they finished the set with a 25-18 score.

The two sides then came out and engaged in a see-saw battle for the set’s first 9 points. However, junior Jesse Lofthouse decided to take matters into his own hands and fired a haymaker of a spike that knocked the Voyageur libero to the ground to make the score 6-4. The kill pumped up both the Freemen crowd and squad, and Providence capitalized on the momentum shift taking 5 of the next 6 points. But the Voyageurs battled back into the game, and were able to tie it up at 15 apiece. The two sides then exchanged points until the score read 21-21. It was then the Freemen were finally able to pull away with four consecutive points, including a game-winning service ace from freshman Dallen Klassen, to take the set and match with a 25-21 score.

After the game Coach Peters was left confident both with his team’s performance and with the depth that he is able to choose from on his bench.

“We feel great about the depth that we have in our roster, with many players able to step in a do the job,” Coach Peters said following the game. “We have a long way to go, but this group shows heart, has a strong work ethic and has a great upside.”

Notes: Bryton Arnal sat out the game with an ankle injury.

The Freemen next return to action on Friday as they head to Winnipeg to face Red River College.

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