Providence stuns Bears for volleyball title

Providence stuns Bears for volleyball title

Hot-hitting Kelsey Shaver notched 18 kills and Sydney Andersen hammered 14, including the match-clincher, as second-seeded and 20th nationally ranked Providence of Great Falls upended favored Rocky Mountain Saturday night for the Frontier Conference college volleyball tournament championship.

The Argonauts knocked off top-seeded and nationally eighth-ranked Rocky Mountain by scores of 28-26, 25-22, 20-25, 25-14 to grab the title and the league’s automatic berth in the NAIA National Tournament, slated for November 27-29 in Sioux City, Iowa. It was only the fourth loss this season for the Bears, who will likely gain an at-large invitation to the national tournament, Frontier Conference Commissioner Kent Paulson told the audience Saturday night in the Montana Tech HPER Complex, venue for the Frontier tourney.

The Argos eked out the first game by tying the score 25-all on a Lauren Brown kill that sent the set into extra serves. Daniella Russell put Rocky Mountain ahead with a kill before Ember Schwindt spiked for a Providence point to re-tie at 26-all. Isabelle Parker nailed a kill for an Argonaut edge before the Bears were called for a four-hit violation to end the set.

Hailey Copinga’s five kills led Rocky Mountain’s try to take the first set.

The second set saw the Argos lead much of the way and hitting set point at 24-22 on an ace serve by Averi Dyer. Anderson killed for the next point and position Providence for a possible sweep.

It didn’t happen. The Bears battled back and controlled the third game. A setter’s dump by Natalie Hilderman brought Rocky Mountain to set point, 24-19. Anderson killed a shot for the Argonauts to delay the set loss. It arrived soon as Copinga clubbed a kill. Russell’s five kills and Hilderman’s eight assists led Rocky Mountain in the set.

Providence was dominant in the fourth set and opened up a gaping lead on the Bears. The Argonauts led 23-13 and then reached set points when the Bears’ Olivia L’Ami plastered a try too far. The Bears got the point back on a Naomi Bad Bear kill, but Anderson ended the match with a cross-court kill that sizzled in for punctuation.

Brown finished with 12 kills and Andersen with 11 for Providence, now 22-9 for the season. Paige Jensen and Cydney Finberg combined for 53 assists. Jensen also came up with 33 digs. Parker led the net defense with four blocks.

Rocky Mountain, 28-4, was led by Copinga with 12 kills, six blocks and 28 digs, Russell with 11 kills, Hilderman with 37 assists and L’Ami with five blocks.


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