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Volleyball News Update

This past weekend, Providence women’s volleyball headed down to Minneapolis, MN for the North Central University Invitational Tournament to play three region league matches and one match against an NCCAA Top 5 nationally ranked opponent (Grace University from Omaha). Prior to this tournament, Providence’s only game experience was an exhibition match against the 2010 MCAC Finalists, CMU Blazers, where they won in four sets.

Ryshytylo (Senior) and Martens (Junior) at the net

Despite having minimal game experience before their first matchup against #5 Grace University, the Lady Freemen were hoping to be able to put forth a solid performance. Unfortunately, GU came out strong and Providence was not able to put up any sort of fight. Head Coach Scott Masterson adds, “Our serve receive was very poor for the entire match and it made it extremely difficult to gain any momentum or get any kind of rhythm on offense.” Grace came out passing very well and executed a quick offense that Providence has not seen very often. Masterson reasons, “We were not able to adjust defensively and combined with poor passing, we made it a very difficult game for ourselves” and consequently Grace took the match 3 sets to 0 (16-25; 15-25; 11-25). Chelsea Needham (Sophomore) racked up 5 kills and 5 digs for the match and libero Katelyn Corbin (Freshman) contributed 7 digs.

After a frustrating performance in their first match, Providence looked to come back with a stronger passing performance against the NCU squad. The Lady Freemen did improve slightly in this area, but the biggest difference was that they began serving a lot tougher. NCU struggled with serve receiving throughout the match, which gifted Providence numerous free balls. Coach Masterson adds “I was pleased with our response to the first match and that we started to improve on some areas of our game. Overall, we still need to be a lot better with our passing but we seem to be heading in the right direction once again.” The game concluded with Providence taking NCU 3 sets to 0 (25-7; 25-15; 25-13). Statistic contributions to the game include: Atira Clunis with 8 kills, Heidi Martens with 4 kills and 3 blocks, Lauren Toews with 3 aces, and Katelyn Corbin with 7 digs.

Next for Providence, they took on Faith Baptist Bible College and hoped to continue building on the momentum from the previous match. True to form, the Lady Freemen came into this match focused and looking to be more efficient on serve receive and side out more consistently. Masterson comments, “For the most part, we accomplished this goal. In the first set, we gave up a couple of runs late in the set that we weren’t happy about and we had a lapse of concentration in the third set. Overall we are happy with the direction we are heading.” The team concluded it’s victory over the Eagles 3-0 (25-17; 25-10; 25-23). Noteworthy stats included Heidi Martens with 13 kills and 4 blocks; Atira Clunis with 9 kills; Victoria Ryshytylo with 7 kills; Lauren Toews with 7 kills; Jenna Neufeld with 39 assists and Katelyn Corbin with 18 digs.

Sophomores Dueck and Needham in passing form

In their final match of the tournament, Providence knew Trinity Bible College would be a tricky opponent who has enjoyed a successful start to the season. Currently ranked 10th in the nation and already taking a set off the #5 Grace University earlier in the tournament, the Freemen knew they would have to come out and play high quality volleyball to limit Trinity’s chances. Masterson explains, “I was very happy with how we played, other than in the 3rd set where we had a mental lapse once again. We had by far the best passing performance from all of our passers and that allowed us to be much more efficient with our side out game. We also served very tough and did not allow them to get any sort of rhythm offensively.” Overall, Masterson believes it was a very comprehensive win; “it showed how much our confidence is growing as a team and how we’re starting to come together as a team.” Providence’s win over Trinity went 3-1 (25-12; 25-16; 21-25; 25-21) with contributive performances from Heidi Martens with 14 kills and 3 blocks; Victoria Ryshytylo with 11 kills; Atira Clunis with 8 kills, 8 digs, and 3 aces; Lauren Toews with 7 kills and 4 aces; Jenna Neufeld with 41 assists and Katelyn Corbin with 23 digs.

Coach Masterson’s review of the tournament: “Overall, I am very happy with the weekend as we continued to improve and get stronger. If we can keep working hard, we will get quite a few more matches between now and Regionals, and we hope to be able to put forth an even more complete set of games when the pressure is on. Our veterans provided some good leadership and I am very pleased with some of our freshmen who have stepped up and have started performing very well for us.”

Next women’s volleyball action will take place in Bismarck, ND Friday and Saturday, October 14 and 15th. They will look to take on Bismarck State College, Dakota College, and Dakota County Technical College.

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