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Providence volleyball thrilled to be back in NAIA top 25

Posted at 9:52 PM, Oct 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-04 12:37:49-04

GREAT FALLS — The second half of the Frontier Conference volleyball season begins this week, with teams getting another crack at teams they’ve already faced this season.

The top matchup of the week is Friday night, when the No. 24 University of Providence Argos host No. 23 Montana Tech to determine sole share of second place in the league standings.

The Argos are back in the most recent NAIA top 25 coaches poll after a roller-coaster few weeks. Providence started the season 7-1 with several victories over ranked opponents to climb to No. 15 in the first regular-season poll but fell out entirely two weeks later after a stretch where they lost four of five games.

A 4-2 start in Frontier Conference play has the Argos back in the rankings and given them a much-needed boost to finish the season strong.

“Our goal is to make it to the national tournament, and getting into the top 25 is certainly an easier way and easier path to get there,” said Argo head coach Arunas Duda. “We’re excited about it, we’ve been excited since we were up at 15, or down to 29 or wherever we are. We’re working hard every day in the gym trying to get back up there.”

The Argos fell to Montana Tech in three sets earlier this season but have won four of their previous five matches since that road loss.

“It’s a little sense of pride,” said senior setter Paige Jensen. “Like, I can say years down the road that I was once on a top 25 team, we were once top 15 in the nation. That’s just incredible to say, and it’s a wonderful experience to be a part of.”

Providence (12-6, 4-2) and Montana Tech (12-8, 4-2) play Friday at 7 p.m. in the McLaughlin Center.