The Huskies men’s volleyball team opened their season with two losses to the University of Alberta Golden Bears on Oct. 26 and 27 in the Physical Activity Complex. The Dogs are currently the seventh ranked team in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport standings while the Golden Bears are ranked number one.
The first clash between the two teams was a close affair, with the Golden Bears sneaking out a 3-2 win with set scores of 23-25, 25-18, 14-25, 25-23, 20-18.
The Huskies grabbed the first set after coming back from 7-10. Paul Thomson’s kill started a streak of four straight points to pull the Dogs ahead 11-10.
The teams were neck and neck nearing the end of the set until a Golden Bear service error handed the home team their first set point. Jordan Nowakowski’s attack was on its way out of bounds but a touch by a Golden Bear player secured the first set for the home side.
The Golden Bears grabbed the momentum in the second to gain a hefty 18-10 advantage. The Huskies hit back starting with a kill from outside hitter Bryan Fraser and clawed their way to 18-21 but would get no closer as the Golden Bears grabbed the next four points to take the set 25-18.
The third set was a straightforward affair as the Huskies strolled to a 25-14 win with Fraser tallying six kills.
The visitors seemed in control of the fourth set after jumping out to a 20-14 lead, but the Dogs dug in and cut the deficit to one at 23-24. On set point Alberta’s Jay Olmstead launched an attack that Fraser couldn’t pick up to give the Golden Bears the fourth.
The decisive fifth set went back and forth, with the Golden Bears taking an early 5-2 lead but an error and two Braden McLean blocks levelled the score. Tied at 18, Olmstead’s attack gave the Golden Bears their first match point. The visiting team only needed one as Ryan Nickifor’s attack went off Huskies blockers to secure the win.
Fraser led the Huskies with 19 kills while Thomson added another 17. Nowakowski and McLean each scored 10. Fraser also tallied 10 digs and McLean had four solo blocks.
The Golden Bears didn’t surrender a set in the second meeting, recording a 25-18, 25-22, 25-23 win.
The opening set was level at 15 before the Golden Bears edged ahead 19-15. The visiting team controlled the rest of the set and took it 25-18 with kills from Matt McCreary and Nickifor.
The Huskies fought for a 14-13 lead in the second set after a McLean kill. With the score tied at 16, Alberta scored the next two points off blocks to edge ahead 18-16. The teams stayed close until a Fraser service error gifted the Golden Bears a set point and a block from the visiting side secured the set 25-22.
Neither team could pull away in the third set as they traded leads six times throughout. With the Huskies leading 22-21, the Golden Bears took a timeout. After coming back to court, a block by Fraser extended the Huskies’ lead to 23-21 but a Golden Bear block and Huskies error brought the score even at 23 — and this time the Dogs called for a timeout. The Golden Bears took the ensuing two points to grab the set and the match.
Jordan Nowakowski tallied 13 kills while Bryan Fraser and Braden McLean each recorded seven. Fraser also added nine digs in the match.
The Huskies host the Trinity Western University Spartans on Nov. 2 and 3.
Photo: Katherine Federoff