Jul 05, 2022 01:00 AM PST

Stunners Regain Control of Sinking 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.


Stunners vs Tornadoes

Entering the match, the Stunners came off their third straight win and the Dallas Tornadoes with two heavy losses. Each team had very different mentalities coming into the game as the Stunners hoped to maintain their momentum while the Tornadoes hoped to turn the tides of their season.

The Tornadoes' man of the year, Outside Felix Chapman, put in work as always, scoring 27 kills off of a whopping 55 sets. Middle Blocker Chike Oppurum also was set frequently with 23 sets, scoring 12 points with three stuff blocks, even bringing down the Stunner big man Jair Santiago. Outside Chase McKenzie made an impressive showing in his debut event scoring at a 50% attack ratio. Then Middle Blocker Joseph Grosh put on the heat himself with seven kills out of 11 swings, hitting at a 64% efficiency.

The Stunners did well to limit their errors in the match, with Joey Jarvis maintaining a +10 W-L point ratio scoring 12 kills at 50% efficiency. Middle Blocker Nick West hit with some blistering intensity, scoring 11 kills with no errors hitting at the highest efficiency of the match at 73%. As a passing unit, the Stunners were unwavering with a 71% positive passing average, with Jarvis (78%), Matt Hilling (70%), and Dylan Shigekawa (68%) efficiently handling the Tornadoes' serves. Opposite Jair Santiago and Hilling led the team with points, with Santiago scoring 14 kills at 54% and Hilling rattling off four aces.

The match was extremely close in the middle sets going into extra points, with the Tornadoes' success causing real chemistry problems on the Stunners bench leading to multiple mid-game arguments. In the end, the Stunner's ability to score out of system passes (50% compared to the Tornadoes' 38%). Their superior passing (71% positive compared to Dallas' 54%) gave them more opportunity to fight at the net.

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Now with a 6-2 record on the year, the Stunners have solidified their playoff spot. With their entire lineup in the gym, the Stunners can get to work, ready to face off against the undefeated New Jersey Team Freedom. After losing to them in the first match of the season, the Stunners should have a better shot of taking them down with their entire roster, giving a preview of what the 2022 NVA Championship match might look like.

-       NVA Staff Writer