Team Freedom came out fired up to have their injured outside hitters back for the playoffs, with #3 Josue Castillo scoring the first two points of the match. Stingers rallied with consecutive kills by #9 Jorge Mencia and a Setter dump by Leo Durkin, taking their first lead at 4-3. At 12-11, Freedom’s Matt Seifert scored on a service ace and tied the game at 12-12. But the Stingers came back fast with a mini-run with a kill from Mencia, hitting errors by Team Freedom, and a block by #17 Cory Metcalf, taking a lead of 16-12 at the media timeout. Team Freedom battled back with kills by #9 Christopher Vaughn and Castillo, a block by #11 Mikheil Hoyte, and a service ace by Vaughn, bringing about a tie at 18-18. After Stingers #24, Alex Shmelev tied the score at 20-20. Team Freedom retook the lead on a kill by Seifert 21-20 and kept the 1-point lead until Stingers tied 25-25 with another great block by Mencia. At 26-26, Stingers scored consecutive points with kills from Mencia and #15 Inovel Romero and won the set 28-26.
Team Freedom started set #2 with a 3-0 lead from a Stingers’ service error and two blocks from Seifert and Castillo. Stingers rallied and tied the score 5-5 from a combination of Team Freedom hitting errors and kill by Mencia. Then the Stingers started a run on two Team Freedom hitting errors, Langlois service ace, Metcalf block, another Langlois service ace, kill by Mencia, another block by Metcalf, and a Team Freedom hitting error and took a 7-point lead at 12-5. Coach Justin Beaumont substituted Vaughn with #8 Besmir Arsiani and #20 Joe Norman with #6 Doug Dzema. Stingers increased their lead to 18-8 from Team Freedom hitting errors, responding with kills by Metcalf, service ace by Langlois, and kill by Shmelev. Team Freedom sided out well the rest of the set with a block by Siefert, kills by Norman and Hoyte but coming up just short in the end. Stingers closed out the set with a Durkin service ace, kills by Langlois and Fa’agata, winning on a Team Freedom hitting error at 25-13.
In set #3, Team Freedom started the set with their original starting lineup and retook the early lead of 6-3 on kills by Vaughn and Hoyte. But after Elias injured his knee, Coach Beaumont had to substitute him with #14 Kenny Ryan. The Stingers tied the set at 6-6 on kills by Metcalf, Langlois, and Shmelev. At 8-8, Freedom scored back-to-back points on a block by Hoyte and a kill by Castillo to lead 10-8. Stingers then took the lead at 12-11 after a block by Langlois. With the score tied at 14-14, Stingers took a 2-point lead of 16-14at the media timeout on a kill by Mencia and Team Freedom hitting error. Stingers increased the lead to 20-17 on a Fa’agata dump kill into the back corner, kept the 3-point lead, and closed the match on a kill by Mencia and Shmelev 25-22.
To watch the replay of the match, head on over to the NVA USA’s page on Youtube! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdB30nvjjhg
#9 Jorge Mencia – 16 Points (14 Kills, 1 Ace, 1 Block)
#10 Jake Langlois – 11 Points (9 Kills, 2 Aces)
#24 Alex Shmelev – 9 Points (8 Kills, 1 Block)
#8 Storm Fa’agata-Tufuga – 5 Points (5 Kills)
#17 Cory Metcalf – 6 Points (2 Kills, 4 Blocks)
#9 Christopher Vaughn – 9 Points (8 Kills, 1 Ace)
#11 Mikheil Hoyte – 8 Points (7 Kills, 1 Block)
#3 Josue Castillo – 6 Points (6 Attacks)
#12 Matt Seifert – 10 Points (6 Kills, 3 Blocks, 1 Ace)
- NVA Staff Writer