The Huskies men’s volleyball team’s difficulty closing out matches came back to haunt them this past weekend when they faced the University of Winnipeg Wesmen.
The Dogs dropped the first match to the Wesmen on Jan. 10 despite holding a two sets to one lead. The Wesmen came back to win in five sets and hand the Huskies their ninth loss of the season. The Huskies were able to bounce back and defeat the Wesmen in straight sets the following night to split the series. The Huskies are now 5-9 and tenth in Canada West.
A close fourth set made all the difference in Friday night’s match. Down two sets to one, the Winnipeg Wesmen snuck out the fourth 25-23 to swing the momentum in their favour heading into the decider. The Wesmen capped off the comeback by taking the fifth 15-11.
The first set was a straightforward affair, with the Huskies taking the opener 25-16 after building an early 12-3 lead. The Wesmen tied the game at 1-1 when they were able to edge the Dogs 25-22 in the second.
The Huskies built another large lead in the third set, this time earning an 11-4 advantage. The Wesmen tried to fight their way back in, but the Dogs were able to close out the set 25-19 and take a 2-1 lead.
The fourth set seemed to be going the way of the Wesmen from the beginning, as the team took a 10-5 lead, but the Huskies managed to stay close. Leading 24-22, the Wesmen gifted the Dogs a service error to prolong the set, but a Wesmen kill on the next point sent the match into a decider.
The Wesmen jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the fifth set but the Huskies dug in to score the next six points to make it 9-8. The two teams traded points until two Huskies errors at 11-13 ended the match in the Wesmen’s favour.
Paul Thompson recorded 13 kills and 11 digs for the Huskies. Jordan Nowakowski added another 12 kills while Bryan Fraser and Tyler Epp each contributed 11.
The Huskies earned a win on Saturday night by squeaking out three competitive sets 25-22, 31-29 and 25-23.
Tied at 21 in the opening set, kills from Fraser and Braden McLean earned the Huskies an important 23-21 edge while a Wesmen error gave the Dogs two set points. The Huskies dropped the first off a Nowakowski service error but secured the second off a Fraser kill to go up 1-0.
With the teams tied 17 times throughout the second set, neither one could break away for the lead. The squads traded set points, with the Huskies holding four and the Wesmen two before the Huskies finally took the set thanks to two ill-timed Wesmen errors.
The Huskies took an 18-13 lead in the third set and were able to hang on to close out the match 25-23 on a Fraser kill.
Thomson led the Huskies with 16 kills and six digs. McLean added another nine kills and Fraser finished with eight.
The Huskies host the University of Regina Cougars on Jan. 17 and 18.
Photo: Raisa Pezderic