EDMONTON — Showing more fight than in their first meeting, the Griffins were able to get a set off of Saskatchewan on Saturday afternoon.
But the result was the same: A Huskies victory, this time 3-1 win (25-23, 25-15, 19-25, 25-20) over MacEwan to complete a sweep on their Alberta road trip.
“We came here to battle this weekend, knowing it was going to be a tough weekend. To come out with the sweep was awesome,” said Saskatchewan head coach Mark Dodds.
“It’s a huge confidence-booster for the girls and they’re feeling good right now.”
Both teams are now 2-2 in the Canada West standings.
For the Griffins, they showed some dominant stretches, taking the play to the Huskies, particularly in the third set.
“We had a lot of flashes,” said MacEwan head coach Ken Briggs.
“I was really happy with a couple of girls that came in and made a difference. To have a first year like Carly Weber come in and really hold her own against a very good team – probably two of the better middles we’ll see – that’s really nice.
“I thought we fought back a little bit, but we are our own worst enemy right now.”
Indeed. Serve receive remained an issue for the Griffins, who gave up 11 aces to Saskatchewan. The Huskies were led in that area by Taylor Ammala, who had four.
“I had really forgotten how good their servers are,” said Briggs. “They did a really, really nice job. I thought we handled them better than last night, but too many runs where you let a server get rolling on four-five serves.
“I thought we were a little timid and we were put out of system a lot because of the serve.”
In contrast, the Griffins weren’t able to put enough pressure on Saskatchewan’s defence off the serve.
“In the end, we’ve got to serve tougher to put them out of system more and we have to pass better,” said Briggs. “We’ve spent an abundance of time on that.”
The Griffins again deserved a better fate in the first set, but were unable to capitalize on an early 10-2 lead. On the backs of a 13-4 run, Saskatchewan fought back to win the opener.
MacEwan’s serve receive and other errors, combined with Saskatchewan’s quick strike ability, had them never in the second set.
MacEwan’s Cassidy Kinsella took control of the third set, recording many of her team-leading 18 kills on the day. She also added 12 digs and a block.
But the Huskies again showed resiliency, wresting the momentum back in the fourth set. Emmalyn Copping led the way with 18 kills and seven digs.
“We’ve got some depth on our team,” said Dodds. “We had a few different players going in and out. We had an injury unfortunately in that third set (a knee ailment to Jenelle Sokoloski).
“We’ve got that depth that’s able to bounce back after a set loss and play strong.”
Briggs will have some positives to focus on as they get ready for their next matches, a home-and-home series with cross-town rival Alberta (Thursday, 6 p.m., CCC, and Friday, 7:30 p.m., at U of A).
“The positives are that we battled better today, we did a good job between 20 and 25 on a couple of the sets. It’s still disappointing, but it certainly shows where we’re trying to get to.”
Saskatchewan next plays at Regina Nov. 11-12.