On Jan. 21 and 22, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies hosted an ultimately unsuccessful bid against their Canada West conference rivals, the University of Alberta. The Physical Activity Complex was host to three teams that are nationally ranked in the U Sports standing, which made for some tightly contested games.
Jan. 20 saw a well-fought game by the Huskie women’s team against the number one ranked University of Alberta Pandas. The Pandas went into the game with a 12-0 record, with a roster dominated by experienced fifth-years, including captain Kacey Otto.
Still, Saskatchewan battled through three sets, led by fifth-year Emmalyn Copping who notched a team high of nine kills.
The Huskies entered the game with a 5-7 record, ranked eighth in the CanWest standing. They went down fighting as they battled through three close sets, eventually falling by 17, 15 and 18 points, respectively. Second-year player Taylor Annala added six kills and four blocks for the night.
The Huskie men’s team, nationally ranked in seventh place, played an exciting and evenly matched game on Friday against the University of Alberta Golden Bears, ranked fourth, before they fell after five closely fought sets.
The men’s team lost the first two sets of the match by scores of 18 and 21, as Alberta was led by fifth-year setter Brett Walsh who finished the game with 52 assists. Saskatchewan rallied, causing the Golden Bears to fall in two tightly contested sets led by third-year Colin Fraser, who notched 15 kills and 11 digs as they forced the game to a back-and-forth fifth set that Alberta won by a score of 17-15.
Jan. 21 saw our Huskies start the night out on a high note as the women’s team won the first set against the Pandas 25-17. Fourth-year starting setter Mackenzie Pek led her team, recording 33 assists and four blocks for the night.
Saskatchewan struggled in the following two sets as they fell by scores of 25-17 and 25-13. Copping scored a team high of 16 kills, while captain Emily Humbert added nine kills herself. The decisive fourth set was close, as the Huskies battled to stay in the match before falling to Alberta 25-20.
The Huskies men’s team entered the PAC poised for another close game, but proved to be no match for the visiting Golden Bears. Led by fifth-year Andrew Nelson, who earned a team high of six kills for the night, Saskatchewan started the night with a solid first set but still fell by a score of 25-15.
The night just got tougher for the Huskies as they could not find their groove in the second set, losing 25-9. They rebounded in the third set to force a closer match before ultimately losing 25-17. Fifth-year Zak Rempel added five kills for his team while third libero Etienne Hagenbuch added a team high of six digs.
Huskies volleyball will not return to the PAC until Feb. 10 when the University of Calgary comes to town. Next weekend the teams will travel to Winnipeg. Stay tuned for more Huskies updates.
Image: Jeremy Britz / Photo Editor