Apr 10, 2022 17:00 PM PST

Freedom Brings the Big Guns to Beat Stunners 3-1

Led by starting Outside Hitter Ian Capp (26 PTS | 25 Kills and 1 Ace), the New Jersey Team Freedom defeated last season's NVA Champions, the OC Stunners 3-1 | 25-22, 25-22, 18-25, 25-23. Opposite Hitter Joseph Norman added 16 PTS (12 kills, 3 blocks, and 2 Aces) for Freedom in the victory, helping to hold back Stunner's Outside, Matt Hilling, who tallied a team-high 16 PTS | 14 kills, 2 Blocks, and 1 Ace for the Stunners in the losing effort.

Team Freedom's Ian Capp was a tough player to stop, hitting at 62% on 40 attempts, with the Stunners unable to form a closed triple block against his out-of-system plays. Opposite Joe Norman also was in top condition, making easy work of Stunner's outside Josh Nehls at the net with massive blocks and high flying swings over the mismatch. Middle Blocker Thomas Burrell was as fast and crafty as ever on offense, making it nearly impossible to get a dig. In addition, newcomer Outside Timothy Ferritier has earned a solid chance to be the starting outside over last year's starter Josue Castillo.

For the Stunners, Outside Hitter Matt Hilling was able to step back into his usual position after playing setter against the Seattle Sasquatch and immediately stepped in as the team's number one outlet. Middle Blocker Nick West led both teams with the most blocks at 7, also leading his team with the highest W-L point differential at +10. In the third set, Jair Santiago made a considerable impact subbing in the court, racking up 11 points in only two locations.

The OC Stunners struggled to play consistent defense, seeming to lack a system to play behind the block with balls falling between players with no one there to cover. Additionally, with only 50% positive passing, the Stunners rarely had their hitters in tempo, leading them to fall behind Freedom in attack points by 20, 43 kills to Freedom's 63.

In concluding Event 1, Team Freedom has come out the gate in 1st in the National Coastal division at 2-0, while the Stunners continue as 2nd at 1-1. The Stunners will look to face the Texas Tyrants, who currently lead the National Central division after wins over the Colorado Kraken and the Chicago Untouchables. Team Freedom looks to have an easier match against the Chicago Untouchables, who went 0-2 in their first event but have proven difficult to beat, going to 5 sets each game.

- NVA Staff Writer