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We Hit Harder
BJ Harder (13 kills, 4 aces)

BJ Harder fires in 13 kills as Freemen beat CMU in 4 sets

The Providence Freemen headed into Wednesday night’s action in Winnipeg looking for their third consecutive win over MCAC rivals the Canadian Mennonite University Blazers. After a slow start, the Freemen were able to regain their composure and went on to take the match in 4 sets 25-20, 15-25, 25-19, and 25-16.

“We came out kind of flat for the first two sets,” Freemen coach Jason Peters noted after the game. “But we were also fortunate that CMU struggled in the first set, so we were able to steal one.”

The two sides did not live up to the early intensity usually expected in a match between the two rival schools as both sides appeared to be off of their game early on. Uncharacteristic mistakes and easy points were found on both sides of the net. But it was the Freemen who slowly pulled away, and, behind a couple key late kills from Sophomore Josh Friesen (7 kills), Providence took the first set 25-20. Heading into the second set it was clear that the first team to find their stride would be the likely victor. That team was CMU. The Blazers, led by right side Peter Dueck, gained an early advantage and kept it throughout as they took the set with a lopsided 25-15 score.

Coach Peters then switched up his rotation for the final two sets in an attempt to re-awaken his squad, and behind inspired play off the bench from freshman Delmer Krahn and sophomore BJ Harder he was able to do just that. The Freemen were then sparked by an exceptional effort and heightened intensity from Harder (13 kills, 4 aces), as they went on to dominate the next two sets 25-19 and 25-16 to take the match.

Coach Peters left the game much more pleased with his team’s results than in the past weeks. In particular, Peters was optimistic about the improved contributions that he is starting to see from his bench and role players.

“Delmer and BJ were our top players as our quality depth was evident again here tonight,” Coach Peters said. “Even though we were not at our best, sets 3 and 4 got progressively better, and we played well late in the match.”

“It is a real positive that we were able to find a way to win on the road.”

Notes: Freshman Kevin Hildebrand also put in a strong performance with 11 Kills, 4 aces, and 6 digs…Bryton Arnal sat out the game with an ankle injury…the Freemen squad returns to action Friday night as they host CMU in the two squad’s fourth and final meeting of the season.

Articles written by Kaiten Critchlow
Photo by Heidi Martens

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