KAMLOOPS, BC: -The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack and the University of Saskatchewan Huskies leave this weekend the same way they started in Canada West men’s volleyball. Both teams entered their series at .500. They remain that way after the Huskies squared their two-game affair Saturday night.
Saskatchewan defeated the WolfPack 3-1 (25-22,25-23,18-25,25-20) in Kamloops B.C. and with the result both teams are 10-10 on the season and are locked in a three-way tie for fifth-place in the conference.
“I think both teams got used to the court and the facility,” said Huskies head coach Nathan Bennett. “Both teams did a better job today. It was a must win match for us and everyone pushed themselves to another level.”
Dylan Mortenson and Colin Fraser each had double digit kills for Saskatchewan. Mortenson had 15 with Fraser 10. Tim Dobbert had 20 kills in a losing cause for TRU.
The Huskies came out with more intensity than they did on Friday when they lost in four sets to the Pack and had a three-point lead early on. But it was the home team who chipped away and had a one-point advantage (16-15) at the first tech time out. The Huskies would rally however and prevailed in the first set thanks to six kills off the arm of Mortenson. Dobbert and Charlie Bringloe had four kills apiece for TRU.
The second set saw the teams again trade point for point and the Huskies were the ones leading at the tech time out (16-12). Both teams had five service errors and four attack errors in that set. Mortenson added to his kills total with four more in that set while Dobbert added six to give him 10 on the match.
Saskatchewan picked up the pace and capitalized on some listless play by the WolfPack and led 16-9. Thompson Rivers went on a run after the technical time out and scored four straight points to cut the margin to 16-13. Huskies coach Nathan Bennett called a time out in an attempt to stop the bleeding and he was successful as the Huskies scored the next point. But that was temporary as the Pack scored the next six in a row with the spin serve specialist, Bringloe serving. Finding himself down 18-17, Bennett was forced to call his second time out of the set. That did no good as Bringloe promply served up two straight service aces to lead 20-17.
“I thought both teams played better tonight especially from the service line,” said Bennett who was previously an assistant coach at TRU. “They went on that big run in that third set and that was quite impressive by Charlie.”
In the fourth set, Saskatchewan moved up quickly 5-2. The Pack chipped away at the deficit and whittled it down to 13-11 thanks to a timely service ace from Smit and a kill from middle Kyle Behiels. However, two attack errors by TRU gave the Huskies a 16-13 advantage at the tech time out. Fraser had two kills in that last set to pace Saskatchewan.
The WolfPack and Huskies will wrap up their Canada West regular seasons next weekend (Feb 15-16). Thompson Rivers will visit their closest geographical rival, the University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat while Saskatchewan will entertain the Mount Royal University Cougars.