Jul 04, 2022 07:00 AM PST
The Untouchables Face A Premature End Of Season
Without a coach and a sizeable amount of their starting lineup not present for Event 4, the Chicago Untouchables had to rely on their season veterans to lead the charge against two powerhouse teams. Playing the Las Vegas Ramblers and OC Stunners would be a sizeable challenge that would put their playoff hopes in a dire position.
Untouchables vs Stunners
Finally gaining their rhythm back after a rocky first half of the regular season, the OC Stunners pulled off their first 3-0 sweep over the Chicago Untouchables. The Untouchables now face elimination as they have been unable to pull off a win, missing many of their big players who gave them a fighting chance at the beginning of the season.
The Untouchables came out to a rocky start as they struggled to find a connection and get the ball to find the court. With the 18 offensive kills the Untouchables had in the first two sets, they also managed to tally up 15 total blocked swings and hitting errors. In total, the Untouchables walked away from the match with aW-L point ratio on the game of -1, committing more errors than points gained. Still, Players like Opposite Piotr Namiotko and Middle Kamil Garbowski each hit at or above 50%, catching the Stunners sleeping. The lack of Stunners' attention towards Namiotko and Garboski came from a heavy focus on Untouchables outside Will Ragland, who scored nine kills at 45% efficiency ripping balls down the line.
The Stunners did well getting their entire roster on the court, with coach Matt Prosser deciding to play all his outsides in preparation for playing the tornadoes with limited lineup options in their next match against the Dallas Tornadoes. Corey Chavers and Matt Hilling each pulled out a solid ten kills, each hitting 67%, each only playing two complete sets. Youngblood Antonio Anguizala made a big impression on the team's defense, passing at 75% positive passing efficiency on eight attempts with no errors. Joey Jarvis went for a perfect three kills on three shots after only one set played, passing at a 71% positive ratio on eight attempts.
Both teams were relatively matched on playing ability, with both teams' passing average in the mid-'60s with a similar amount of kills and aces. The match came down to the Untouvhables' lesser side out efficiency, which was more than 10% less for positive passes, negative passes, and mainly kills off a defensive dig, which the Stunners were able to keep above 54% kill rate on the match. If the Untouchables could have reduced the number of errors they committed, they may have finally gotten the upper hand on a top 4 team this season.
Untouchables vs Ramblers
Showing off their resilience and scrappy play, the Chicago Untouchables kept the Las Vegas Ramblers on their toes, pushing two sets into extra points before the Ramblers pulled away with a 3-0 sweep, finishing 29-27, 27-25, and 25-21. Even more impressive was the Untocuchables' late third set come back after being down 14-21, clawing their way back to 21-24 before the ramblers out their fire.
The Vegas Ramblers kept their hold on the match with a solid blocking presence against the Untouchables' outsides, with Opposite Johl Awerkamp and Middle Antwain Aguillard each getting four blocks of their own. Additionally, the team maintained a well-balanced offense at the helm of their setter Michael Keegan, scoring above 50% across the board on positive receptions, negative receptions, and digs in transition. Awerkamp primarily led this with 12 kills hitting at 60%, and Brandon Rattray scored 16 kills at 55%, even maintaining an impressive +15 W-L point ratio with 20 points.
The Chicago Untouchables' ability to hold on in the match came from their defensive performances, with Libero Jordan Robinson pulling off some impeccable saves against Rattray and Ramblers' Middle Mathew Knigge. As a team, the Untouchables maintained a passing efficiency that was 10% higher than the Ramblers, with Robinson leading the match with 24 passes with no errors at 71% positive passing. Middle Kamil Garbowski had his best season performance thus far with eight kills hitting 67% with two aces and two stuff blocks.
Despite all they fought for, the Untouchables couldn't muster enough offense across all their hitters to fight against the big guns on the Rambler's bench. As both teams had to reach deep into their benches to put a full starting six on the court, the Ramblers proved the depth of their roster, which has proved vital in the latter half of this season.
- NVA Staff Writer