(ARGO ATHLETICS MEDIA RELEASE)
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Despite winning the first set, the University of Providence fell 3-1 (20-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-17) to the defending National Champions and No. 1 overall seed in Park University in the second day of pool play at the NAIA National Tournament.
The Argos got off to a hot start, controlling the tempo in the first set, winning 25-20. The Argos stuck to the pregame game plan, which proved successful in slowing down the Pirates.
"We were focused on slowing their middles down," head coach Arunas Duda said. "They have the returning National Player of the Year on their team. We knew she would get kills but we wanted to make it inefficient and make her take a lot of swings early. We also wanted to make sure no one else hurt us, and in that first set we did that."
The Argos hot streak continued early in the second set, until the Pirates went on a rally and won the set 25-21. The Pirates maintained control in the final two sets, winning 25-20 and 25-17 respectively.
"I thought we played really well," Duda said. "I just don't think we played well long enough. We gave up a large run of points in each set. That was the difference maker. We got stuck in one rotation in each set."
Kelsey Shaver led the Argos with 19 kills and 17 digs. Averi Dyer 14 digs and 12 kills. Cydney Finberg-Roberts recorded 51 assists, 16 digs and three kills. Sacha Legros passed well recording 30 digs for the Argos.
Nada Meawad led the Pirates with 23 kills and 13 digs. Margherita Marconi recorded 42 assists and 18 digs, while Celina Montiero led the team with 30 digs.
"We played the number one seed, who happens to have the best player in the country in Meawad on that team," Duda said. "She beat us today. We did a really good job of playing against the rest of their players. We competed really well we just couldn't stop her."
The Argos will return to the court tomorrow for the final day of pool play, with a chance to advance to the knockout round. They'll take on No. 32 Morningside College, the host of the National Tournament, at 3 p.m., who defeated No. 17 Oklahoma City Wednesday afternoon.
If the Argos defeat the Mustangs, and Park defeats Oklahoma City, there will be a three-team tiebreaker on Thursday night. The teams will reseeded based on pool-play performance. The No. 3 seed will take on the No. 4 seed in a one set match to 25. The winner will take on the No. 2 seed in another one set match. The winner of that final match would advance to the knock out round, while the other two teams would be eliminated.
"Morningside is the host team and they have a good fan base here," Duda said. "Their games have been livelier than most because of the fans. They have really big middles that we have to be prepared for. If we can keep them out of system than I think we have a good shot."