It was a tale of two teams this weekend as the men swept away their provincial rivals while the women dropped both matches to the University of Regina Cougars.
With a pair of convincing wins, the Huskies run their record to 11–7 which puts them in fifth place in the Canada West conference.
The team has rebounded nicely after starting 1–5 out of the gate and have ran the table and gone 10–2 in their last 12 games to sneak back into the playoff picture. Only six games remain on the schedule and Saskatchewan sits just two games ahead of the eighth placed Mount Royal University Cougars. Only the top seven teams qualify for the post-season.
Jan. 16 saw the Dogs make quick work of the Cougars as they took the win 3–0 (25–14, 25–14, 25–10). It was never really close as the Huskies played only their third game of the year with seven healthy starters. Matthew Busse and Jordan Nowakowski led the attack with 13 and 11 kills respectively. A solid team effort all around was key for the Huskies as they collectively had a 0.458 hitting percentage.
The following night was more of the same as the sweep was completed with another shutout victory. Without ever trailing in the match, the Dogs picked up a dominant 3–0 (25–17, 25–15, 25–22) victory. A lone bright spot for Regina was that Jacques Borgeaud broke the single-game three set school record for digs with 18. On the Huskies’ side, Nowakowski led the charge with 15 kills and Paul Thomson added 11 of his own. Thomson has now recorded 257 kills on the season, which ranks him fourth in the Canada West.
The women’s first match was a tight one and it was arguably their most exciting game of the season, but ultimately fell 3–2 (25–18, 21–25, 23–25, 25–17, 15–8) to the Cougars. With a 2–1 lead in the match, the Huskies just couldn’t nail down the win and Regina stormed back for a thrilling five set victory on home court. Jenelle Sokoloski had a team high with 14 kills, but it was a balanced attack with eight different Huskies recording a kill. Jennifer Hauser and Anne Hanbidge chipped in with 14 and 12 digs, respectively in the losing effort. The difference was team hitting percentage as Regina hit 0.226 per cent compared to the Huskies 0.169 per cent.
Game two of the weekend saw the Huskies on the losing end once again to their provincial foes as Regina improved to 6–12 on the season with a 3–0 (25–18, 25–18, 25–18) win. The Dogs started slowly and were never able to recover. Poor first and third sets were the demise of the Huskies as the Cougars were able to set up a strong attack all night. Again, the Cougars had a much more efficient hitting percentage with 0.310 per cent, whereas the Huskies hit at just 0.150 percent. Emily Humbert led the team with seven kills and Hauser had 14 more digs.
The pair of losses drops the squad to 4–14 on the season, which is second last in the Canada West conference.
Both teams will be back in action on Jan. 23 and 24 when the University of Manitoba Bisons come to town. First serve is scheduled for 6 p.m. for the women and 8 p.m. for the men on both nights.
Photo: Katherine Fedoroff/Photo Editor