Huskies topple Thunderbirds on the road

The Saskatchewan Huskies (4-6) battled back after dropping the opening set to reel off three straight to claim a 3-1 (21-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-22) win on Pride Night at War Memorial Gym Saturday.

The Pride Night celebration of inclusion included some stellar dance moves and colourful costumes, as well as tenacity on the court between the Canada West foes. Saskatchewan Head Coach Nathan Bennett appreciated the intensity that ramped up competition between the two teams in a few heated exchanges.

“I think that’s great for volleyball,” said Bennett, after his team snapped their four-game losing skid. “I’m a little bit more old school than it is now, I know there’s a net between us, but having a battle is what this sport is all about. We executed, that was the big thing today. Our serve reception still wasn’t where we would like it, but we did a much better job in our block defence and we were in the right spots. I thought the team did great today.”

Colin Fraser led the Huskies with 15 kills, Dylan Mortensen put up 10 kills with an ace and three blocks, and Daulton Sinoski totalled seven blocks with eight kills and two aces in the victory.

Michael Dowhaniuk racked up a team-high 15 kills with two aces and six digs for the ‘Birds, while Gerard Murray and Coltyn Liu each had 10 kills.

Nick Mickelberry’s early back row kill gave the T-Birds a 5-4 lead that they would maintain to a 16-13 edge in the first set. Dowhaniuk capped off a lengthy rally with his first kill to go up 19-16 and closed out the first set with a crafty tip off the block.

Sinoski served the Huskies to a 3-0 advantage in the second before smacking his third kill and blocking Mickelberry for a 9-6 edge. Murray and Mickelberry then came up with a big block on Mortensen for a 14-13 edge, but the Huskies kept pace and earned their biggest lead of the set at 21-17. UBC faced a slew of set points after a CJ Gavlas kill made it 24-19 and the Huskies eventually took the second set on a T-Bird error.

Saskatchewan came out firing in the third set until one of Jordan Deshane’s eight kills tied it up at 7-7. Mortensen cranked a kill to break the 16-16 tie as tensions rose in the tightly contested set. With the score even at 21-21, Fraser ripped two kills and a Sinoski block gave Saskatchewan a set point at 24-22. Sinoski converted with his fifth kill to take the third set 25-23.

Murray dropped an ace to open the fourth set for the T-Birds before Mickelberry punctuated a thrilling rally with his seventh kill to go up 6-5. Murray knotted it up at 15-15 and Dowhaniuk put the home team up 16-15 at the technical timeout.

UBC held their one point lead at 19-18 but that’s where things started to slip away. Fraser had two consecutive kills to lift the Huskies to a 20-19 lead. A huge Aidan Saladana solo block gave the visitors even more momentum at 22-19, before Sinoski and Mortensen combined on a block on the next play. A UBC attacking error gave Saskatchewan their first match point at 24-19, capping off a 6-0 run. The Thunderbirds cut the lead to 24-22 but Mortensen would close out the proceedings with his 10th kill of the night to clinch the set and the match.

The Huskies are back on home court to host UBCO next weekend, while UBC will travel to Calgary for their final series of 2018 against Mt. Royal on November 30 and December 1.

Huskies fall in straight sets to Thunderbirds

huskies vs  UBC Thunderbirdsvolleyball

VANCOUVER – A colourful Pride Night crowd saw the UBC Thunderbirds (7-5) earn their fourth straight victory and first home series sweep of the season, in a straight sets (25-15, 25-21, 25-18) win over the Saskatchewan Huskies (2-8) at War Memorial Gym Saturday night.

First-year T-Bird Brynn Pasin had an impressive 10 kill, 10 dig, three ace performance off the bench, and U SPORTS leading attacker Kiera Van Ryk continued her tear with 20 kills and a monster .621 hitting percentage.

Emily Koshinsky led the Huskies with 11 kills and a service ace, while setter Averie Allard tallied 16 assists and a team-high seven digs.

The home squad would assert their dominance early, leading 16-8 into the first technical timeout, and a Saskatchewan attack error gave the T-Birds their first set point at 24-13. Van Ryk converted with her eighth kill for a 25-15 set win.

Koshinsky cranked her second and third kills of the match to open the second set and dropped an ace for a 5-1 advantage. The Huskies led by as many as eight points on a run of T-Bird errors before Pasin catalyzed a comeback to make it a three-point deficit down 13-10.

Another Koshinsky kill made it 16-11 Saskatchewan at the technical timeout, but an ace by Kacey Jost eventually tied it at 17-17. Danae Shephard’s solo block evened it up again at 21-21, before Van Ryk helped the ‘Birds earn the second set on back-to-back kills.

Angela Lavoie gave the Huskies a short-lived lead at 6-5 in a tight third set that saw both teams trade blows until a Van Ryk off-speed tip put the ‘Birds up 18-16. The Thunderbirds would maintain the lead through to a 25-18 win.

UBC will resume Canada West competition on January 4 and 5 in Calgary against Mt. Royal, while the Huskies are back at it next weekend to host UBCO.