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Freemen Take NDSU by Storm
Dallen Klassen (28 kills, 9 digs vs Bethel University)

Providence men’s volleyball goes 4-0 at NDSU Open

The Freemen volleyball squad travelled south of the border Saturday for the North Dakota State University Open tournament. Providence then gave an outstanding performance in their first American games of the season as they went undefeated en route to taking the tournament title.

“We had a good start to our NIVC (Northern Intercollegiate Volleyball Conference) schedule,” Freemen assistant coach Chris Peters said. “We struggled a bit with consistency, but that is something I expected because the style of play is quite different. We did make plays when we needed to win.”

The Freemen started the tourney off by facing NDSU Yellow (NDSU’s ‘A’ team). The team jumped out to an early lead in the first set and took it 25-16. However, NDSU had a strong second set while the Freemen struggled with the new style of their opponent’s play, and the Yellow took the set 14-25 to force the team’s to a third set. The Freemen then regrouped behind the strong play of freshman Kevin Hildebrand (29 kills, 11 digs) and took the third set 15-11 to take the match.

Providence then faced NDSU Green (the ‘B’ team) in their second match of the day. Both sides battled tight early on in the first set, but freshman Delmer Krahn (23 kills, 3 aces) stepped up late to lead the Freemen to a 25-20 win. Providence then came out on fire to start the second set and dominated the Green 25-9 to win the set and match.

Concordia College (Morehead, MN) was then the Freemen’s third opponent of the day. Providence continued to roll and they took the first set 25-12. Concordia then played a better second set, but the Freemen also stepped up their game and took the game and match with a convincing 25-13 performance.

The final game of the day then featured a match-up of the day’s top two teams as Providence faced off against Bethel University in a battle for tournament supremacy. Bethel proved to be Providence’s toughest opponent of the day early on, as they came out and overpowered the Freemen side en route to a first set 25-20 score. However, sophomore libero Ryan Hamm (17 digs, 2.51 passing average) led a strengthened defensive effort from his side in the second set, and the Freemen started the comeback as they took it 25-20. Bethel was up to the task though as they took an early lead in the third set and started to dream of being tournament champions. But freshman Dallen Klassen (28 kills, 9 digs) had other plans, as he came up with two monster kills, a block, and a key defensive dig late in the set to lead his team over Bethel 15-12 to end the tournament 4-0.

The Freemen coaching staff left the game excited about their first NIVC results of the season, and see that the team is showing great potential as they approach their toughest stretch of the schedule.

“To go 4-0 on our first weekend of league play is just what we needed,” assistant coach Peters commented. “We know the competition will be much better the next time we head south, so we will need to continue to get better.”

Notes: Stats given are complete tourney stats…games were best of three…the Freemen don’t return to match play again until March 6 & 7 when they compete in the University of Iowa Black & Gold Classic.

Article written by Kaiten Critchlow
Picture by Heidi Martens

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