May 07, 2022 14:00 PM PST

Freedom Shows Untouchables Who Is King Of The East!

Led by starting Opposite Joe Norman (23 PTS | 21 Kills, 1 Ace, and 1 Blocks), New Jersey's Team Freedom defeated the Chicago Untouchables 3-0 | 25-19, 25-20, 25-18. Outside Hitter Ian Capp added 11 PTS (9 kills and 2 Blocks) for the Tornadoes in the victory, helping to hold back the Untouchables' Opposite, Daniil Paraskevov, who tallied a team-high 11 PTS | 8 kills and 3 Blocks for the Untouchables in the losing effort.

Norman came in top performance for this match, attacking at a 72% hitting efficiency, with the Untouchables powerless to get a single block against his towering swing. The team's pristine attacking performance (at a total of 55%) also came from the return of Setter Mathew Elias's effortless jump-setting abilities allowing him to play balls that would otherwise end up being overpasses. The team also returned libero John Cunningham who held a solid 92% positive passing record on 12 attempts, showing that Freedom will have no change in performance between Setters and Liberos, filling in Elias and Cunningham for Ryan Kenny (S) and Ryan Alu (L).

For Chicago, Paraskevov is proving to be a massive asset for the Untouchables as he has led his team on the offensive and front-row defense, leading the team with three stuff blocks. The Untouchables' other hot newcomer this season has been Middle Blocker Jacob Ostema, who is fresh off his career at Trinity Christian. Ostema put up five kills for the team, hitting 62%.

The Untouchables couldn't match Team Freedom's offensive output, with Chicago only having 42 attack attempts compared to Freedom's 83. The increased chances to score led to New Jersey having more than double the amount of earned points, with 54 total points compared to Chicago's 21. Even more impressive was Freedom's ability to side out on serve receive at a whopping 70% compared to the Untouchables' 39% side out ratio. Even with more cumulative errors as a team (25 to 21), Team Freedom successfully put the Untouchables out of system. Keeping their top passer Austin Neace to only 45% positive passing, Team Freedom's servers ensured that the Untouchables couldn't use any of their weapons, with them only scoring 23% of the time off negative receptions.

If Norman can continue to win entire sets by himself, Team Freedom should be able to do easy work against Felix Chapman and the Dallas Tornadoes in their next match of Event 2. The Chicago Untouchables, who are 0-3 on the season, will need to figure out their best lineup to ensure they can pull off a win against the Inland Empire Matadors and keep their dreams of making it back to the playoffs alive.

- NVA Staff Writer