For the first time since the 1998-99 season the Huskies women’s volleyball team kicked off the season with two wins. The Dogs dismissed the University of Alberta Pandas on Saturday Oct. 26 and Sunday Oct. 27 in the Physical Activity Complex.
The Dogs dominated Saturday’s match with a 25-20, 20-23, 25-21 scoreline. The impressive display was also the first time the team has beaten the Pandas since a 3-2 win January 23, 1998 in Saskatoon.
With the score level at 18 in the first set, four straight Panda attacks into the net gave the Huskies a 22-18 advantage. The Pandas took the next two points but the home teamed scored five straight to grab the opener.
The Huskies stayed ahead throughout the second set until the Pandas pulled even at 16 following three errors from the home side and a Panda ace. The Dogs regained the lead and ran out the set after Anne Hanbidge’s kill beat the Pandas back line.
The two teams kept close in the final set until the Pandas couldn’t dig up Candace Hueser’s attack. Another two Hanbidge kills edged the Huskies ahead and Emily Humbert’s block secured the match at 25-21.
The Dogs needed to come back from a two set deficit to take Sunday’s match 24-26, 23-25, 25-22, 25-9, 15-10.
The Pandas earned a small 21-19 lead in the first set but the two teams were quickly tied at 24. Two kills from the visiting side gave the Pandas the opener 26-24.
The second set was another battle to the finish as the teams found themselves tied at 23. Once more the Pandas snatched the next two points to end the set.
Down two sets to none, the Huskies had no choice but to go to five or suffer their first lost of the season. From 6-6 in the third set the home side began to pull away. The Pandas got as close at 24-22 but Kayla Tycholiz’s kill had the Huskies winning their first set of the night.
After jumping out to an early 11-3 lead, the Huskies never let go of the fourth set and forced a decider after taking it handily 25-9.
The Dogs raised their level considerably since the opening set and their good form continued into the decider. The home side ran out to an 8-3 lead but the Pandas weren’t ready to give up the match and dug in for 11-9.
After the teams traded errors for 12-10, kills from Tycholiz and Hueser set up match point for the Dogs. Jina Barker served an ace on the final point to give the Huskies a 15-10 win.
Heuser led the home side with a match-high 20 kills. Tycholiz tallied 12 kills while Hanbidge recorded 20 digs.
The Huskies host the Trinity Western University Spartans on Nov. 1 and 2.
Photo: Katherine Fedoroff