Jun 24, 2022 05:00 AM PST
Kraken Playoff Hopes Dim After 0-2 Weekend
The Colorado Kraken saw their playoff hopes slightly dim after going 0-2 on the weekend following a heartbreaking 2-3 loss against the Inland Empire Matadors and being swept 0-3 by currently undefeated New Jersey Freedom.
Kraken vs Matadors
Kraken started off strong, with outside Alvaro Ascues coming out swinging to help Kraken immediately take a commanding lead and capture the first set. However, Ascues would go down in the second to an ankle injury off of a clean backrow attack, discombobulating Kraken into giving up an easy set to the Matadors, with middle Ben Gabor leading the way offensively.
The third set would prove to be more of a fight, with opposite Jacob Vander Beek and outside Eric Beatty helping propel Matadors to a 2-1 lead. Opposite Liam Jenkinson would help take control back for Kraken to dominate the fourth set, forcing a decisive fifth set. A slow start for Kraken seemed to ensure a Matador victory, however, Kraken would score four straight points to take a 13-12 lead late in the fifth. It would prove to not be enough, as Matadors would score the next three to take the set and the match.
Beatty and Vander Beek would finish with 20 and 19 kills, respectively, to lead Matadors in points while Gabor would finish on a 0.460 errorless clip. Jenkinson would lead Kraken with 11 kills with Rahul Patel right behind him with 9.
#5 Liam Jenkinson - 14 Points (11 Kills, 5 Blocks, 1 Ace)
#3 Rahul Patel - 9 Points (9 Kills, 1 Block)
#2 Rowdy Martin - 9 Points (5 Kills, 3 Blocks, 1 Ace)
#20 Eric Beatty - 25 Points (20 Kills, 3 Blocks, 2 Aces)
#17 Jacob Vander Beek - 21 Points (19 Kills, 2 Blocks, 1 Ace)
#18 Ben Gabor - 7 Points (6 Kills, 4 Blocks)
Kraken vs Freedom
For the match against Freedom, Kraken would struggle offensively after coming off a 5-set heartbreaker against the Matadors.
The teams exchanged points through the beginning of the first set, but a string of Kraken hitting errors would push Freedom ahead by four. An efficient offensive effort from Daniel Vanegas would keep the Freedom lead, ending with them taking the first set to go up 1-0.
The second set would see the Freedom offense stutter, with Kraken combining for ten blocks in the set. Kraken would go up by as much as two points off of a great offensive effort from Alvaro Ascues, who was bouncing back from his ankle injury the night before, but Freedom would score ten of the last fifteen points on a Matt Buffum service run to take the 2-0 lead.
Freedom ran away with the third set and the match as they quickly earned a lead of seven and never looked back. Joe Norman would lead all players with 15 kills while Vanegas and Ascues would finish closely behind with 11 each.
#19 Alvaro Ascues - 12 Points (11 Kills, 1 Ace)
#17 Cristian Encarnacionn - 9 Points (7 Kills, 2 Blocks)
#16 Joe Norman - 16 Points (15 Kills, 1 Block)
#11 Daniel Vanegas - 13 Points (11 Kills, 1 Block, 1 Ace)
#18 Tom Burrell - 9 Points (6 Kills, 4 Blocks)
- NVA Staff Writer