The Lady Freemen volleyball squad went out to impress the home crowd in Otterburne, MB on both Friday night and Saturday afternoon in their first MCAC preseason exhibition matches. With a thrilling five set victory over Canadian Mennonite University, followed by a dominant performance against Red River College, the Freemen were able to send a message to their fans – this year, they mean business.
Providence started the weekend with a matchup against their most heated MCAC rival in the CMU Blazers. The two teams did not disappoint as they were able to match each other set-for-set throughout the match. The Freemen gained an early advantage as they took the first set 25-20. The Blazers then took the first of three tightly contested sets 26-24, showing Providence that they came to compete. The two then swapped sets three and four, with the Lady Freemen taking the third 27-25, and CMU extending the match by winning the fourth set 25-22. The two squads then squared off in a first-to-fifteen fifth and final set to decide the match, and it was Providence, pushed on by a riotous crowd, who came out on top with an impressive 15-8 finisher.
The Lady Freemen then hosted the Red River College Rebels in a Saturday matinee. Providence came out with the same intensity as they did the previous night, and proved to be too much for the Lady Rebels. With a convincing 25-19, 25-14, and 25-11 match victory, the Lady Freemen left the court with no doubt in their minds who the stronger team was on the day.
Freemen head-coach Becky Heidebrecht was impressed with her team’s efforts on the weekend, and was especially impressed with her team’s ability to win a long and difficult five set match on Friday night.
“Our veterans played solid for us and led our young team as we pulled out a win in the five set game against CMU,” said Heidebrecht. “It was also great to see the freshman settle their nerves for Saturday’s game. The team played strong all around and we are continuing to gel well as a group.”
The team saw strong performances from Jillian Reimer with 21 kills and 4 blocks, as well as Vicky Ryshytyko who had 24 kills and 7 blocks.
The Lady Freemen will continue their pre-season exhibition play on Friday, October 2 when they travel to CMU for a much anticipated rematch.
By Kaiten Critchlow
Photo: Brenda Peters