The Huskies men’s volleyball team saw their playoff hopes dashed after losing a down-to-the-wire battle against the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack.
The teams faced off in a best-of-three quarter-final matchup in Kamloops, B.C. on February 13-15. The WolfPack squeaked by 2-1 and will face the University of Alberta Golden Bears in the Canada West semi-finals.
The WolfPack took the first match 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 30-28) on Thursday night to gain an early edge in the series.
After securing the first two sets without much trouble, the Dogs gave them a fight in the third. The Huskies jumped out to 13-8 but the WolfPack scored five straight points to tie the score. The teams battled back and forth with neither one able to gain a decisive lead.
The Huskies twice held set point at 24-23 and 28-27, but the WolfPack were able to fight both off. After tying the score at 28 the WolfPack scored two straight points off a kill and a service ace to seal the match.
Fortunes were reversed the next night with the Dogs winning 3-0 (25-19, 28-26, 25-15) to even the series at 1-1.
The Huskies found themselves in a dogfight after winning the first set. The WolfPack led 17-13 until the Dogs went on a 6-1 run to edge ahead 24-23. The Dogs held two set points at 24-22 but weren’t able to convert on either.
Immediately after the Huskies had to fend off set points down 24-25 and 25-26 and were able to do so thanks to a Paul Thompson kill and a WolfPack error.
At 26-26 a Braden McLean kill gave the Huskies another chance to wrap up the second. A service ace from Emory Wells secured a 2-0 lead for the Dogs.
The Dogs had control of the third from beginning to end and closed out the match after taking the set 25-15.
The teams headed into a must-win match on even terms, but the WolfPack fought back from 1-2 down to win the match 3-2 (22-25, 25-23, 16-25, 25-18, 22-20).
After splitting two close sets the Huskies were one set away from victory after winning the third 25-16 but the WolfPack came out strong and took control of the fourth set. With the match level at 2-2 the teams headed into a fifth set to decide who would move on to the semi-finals.
Each team dug in and fought for the win, trading set points along the way. The WolfPack were able to fall over the finish line after the Huskies committed two errors from 20-20.
The Huskies are set to host the Canadian Interuniversity Sport men’s volleyball championship in 2015, guaranteeing them a playoff berth.
Photo: Andrew Snucins