The NVA Championship Final featured an explosive and entertaining matchup. The Ramblers, the hottest team in the NVA who finished with the best regular-season record, and the Stunners, who started the season at 0-3 and peaked at the right time by defeating two other top teams in the playoffs with better winning records – the Tyrants and Southern Exposure
The Stunners’ game plan to defeat the Ramblers with disciplined blocking technique and defense worked to perfection. “We figured that Rattray was going to get his points. But if we can stop Mather and the other Ramblers’ hitters, getting one or two blocks on Rattray’s 8 or 10 swings, then that’s a good number for us.” Stunners’ Coach Adams said.
Although the Ramblers’ outscored the Stunners 49 to 48 in total points and had a higher hitting percentage at 47% over the Stunners’ 40%, the Stunners’ blocking and defense prevailed in decisively sweeping the Ramblers. Leading the defense were libero Josh Ayzenberg and Matt Hilling, who Coach Adams started at Opposite after being the team’s OH2. The Stunners’ also had a massive block party which Nick Amado led with 4, Hilling 3, Corey Chavers 2, Nick West 2, and Joey Jarvis 1.
The Stunners’ blocking scheme also forced the Ramblers to lose an entire set (25 points) with their hitting errors and blocked swings. Many of them occurred at crucial moments in the match that kept the Ramblers’ offense off-balance and terminated any momentum to launch a comeback. Of the 12 Stunners’ blocks, 7 of them were on Rattray swings, one of which fittingly occurred on match point by the Finals MVP, Corey Chavers.
Despite the Stunners’ lower 40% hitting percentage, their offense scored points in the critical moments of each set. Each time it was either a defensive dig that led to a score in transition or a block that diffused the Ramblers’ chances to win the set. The most significant difference in the Stunners’ win was their ability to limit errors, with a W-L ratio of +24 over the Ramblers’ +6.
Corey Chasers led the Stunners with 16 points, followed by Matt Hilling 10, Nick Amado 10, Nick West 7, and Joey Jarvis 4. For the Ramblers, Brandon Rattray scored 20 points, Kevin Lopez 10, Ryan Mather 9, Antwain Aguillard 4, Sean Dennis 3, and Michael Keegan 3.
NVA Tournament Championship MVP and All-Tournament Team
NVA Finals MVP:
Stunners’ Outside Hitter Corey Chavers.
NVA All-Tournament Team:
Best Setter – Michael Keegan, Ramblers
Best Outside (OH1) – Brandon Rattray, Ramblers
Best Middle (M1) – Nick Amado, Stunners
Best Outside (OH2) – Gianluca Grasso, Tyrants
Best Opposite – Ryan Mather, Ramblers
Best Libero – Josh Ayzenberg, Stunners
Best Middle (M2) – Tim Lourich, Southern Exposure
Or check out the league’s YouTube page at NVA USA, https://www.youtube.com/c/NVAUSA.