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Ryshytylo elevating for a sharp cross hit
Needham with a stellar passing platform

Lady Freemen give strong showing in win

The Lady Freemen entered their weekend match-ups against the Red River Rebels hoping to find consistency in their play from start to finish. While Providence struggled in their first game, allowing the Rebels to pullout a 5-set (27-25, 20-25, 25-19, 20-25, 14-16) victory Friday in Winnipeg, they were finally able to put it all together in Saturday’s re-match in Otterburne, winning the game in 4 sets (18-25, 25-16, 25-18, 25-15).

“It (Friday night) was definitely a disappointing loss for our team,” Lady Freemen coach Scott Masterson commented following the match. “We feel as though we have the talent level to beat them. But you can’t expect to beat very many teams when you play as inconsistently as we did.”

The Lady Freemen struggled offensively early in their first set, only putting together a 1.5 passing average. But a strong defensive effort, combined with timely blocks from junior Vicky Ryshytylo (14 kills, 8 blocks) allowed Providence to stay in the set long enough to find a 27-25 set win.

Providence then saw the same struggles in the second set, but this time were not able to string together enough plays to make up for it, allowing the Rebels to steal the match 25-20. Coach Masterson then subbed sophomore Heidi Martens (9 kills, 2 blocks) into the game in the third, which seemed the right piece to kick-start the Lady Freemen’s passing and offense. Freshman Chelsea Needham (11 kills) also put away a pair of momentum-changing kills, and Providence took the third set 25-19.

But the Lady Freemen once again faltered in the fourth set to allow the Rebels take it 25-20. The two sides then played a tight fifth set. The Lady Freemen held the first match point, but missed a serve (falling victim to a questionable call) and were unable to execute a side out, letting the Rebels take the set 16-14, and the game 3-2.

On Saturday, the Lady Freemen hosted the Rebels. Providence came out strong to start the set, looking like a much stronger side than the night before as they jumped out to a 15-7 lead. But the Rebels began to claw back into the match until they found themselves tied at 17. Red River used their momentum, and with a strong offensive outburst, outscored the Lady Freemen 8-1, finishing the set at 25-18.

Providence finally came awake for good in the second set. After staying tight until 5’s, the Lady Freemen started to control the game. Their efforts were capped off by two big momentum-changing plays by Needham, who pulled out a huge dig and hammered a thunderous cross-court spike at clutch times to stop any Rebels’ rally. The Lady Freemen would go on to take the set 25-16.

The third and fourth sets then both played out similarly, as they saw a combined 9 lead changes early on, before the Lady Freemen were able to take control for the win.

In the third set, Needham once again came out in the clutch as she strung together 5 consecutive services, with 1 ace, to move her squad out of a tie at 8. Providence then continued the momentum, led by freshman Jessica Hamm’s (8 kills, 3 blocks) aggressive play at the net, and took the set 25-18. Providence then finished off the third game 25-15 to win the match in 4 sets (18-25, 25-16, 25-18, 25-15).

Coach Masterson left the second match feeling much more comfortable with his squad’s effort and play.

“I was happy that we started to play more consistently and cut down our errors,” Masterson said of the game. “We seem to beat ourselves more than anything else, but today the girls were able to battle through a tough start to find their game. It’s something we’ve been working on as a team; finding ways to win even when we may not be playing our best.”

Written by: Kaiten Critchlow

10 College Crescent
Otterburne, Manitoba, Canada, R0A 1G0
Phone: (204) 433-7488 or (800) 668-7768
Fax: (204) 433-7158
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