Kayla Kievits, Mount Royal University Communications
CALGARY -Tonight was game one of two of Cougar on Cougar action for men's volleyball. The University of Regina Cougars took on the Mount Royal Cougars on Kenyon Court. It was Regina that came out on top winning three sets to two. The final scores were, first set 25-21 Regina, second set 25-22 Regina, third set 24-26 Mount Royal, fourth set 17-25 Mount Royal and fifth set 15-13 Regina.
The Booster Juice Players of the game both lead their teams in attacks. For Regina, it was #7 Matthew Aubrey with a total of 17 out of the teams 47 attacks. For Mount Royal, it was #1 Riley Friesen with a total of 21 out of the teams 62 attacks. Regina lead in team blocks with 14 over Mount Royal's 12, and they also had a stronger serve percentage at 0.848 compared to 0.759. Mount Royal took the lead in digs with a total of 44 compared to 38. Mount Royal's libero, Phillips led the team in digs with a total of 12.
The first set started off strong. Points went back and forth one-for-one between the two teams. Mount Royal found success in tipping over the block, finding a hole in Regina's defense. Both teams were strong in their attacks finding a kill almost every time. Mount Royal's strongest attacks came from none other than Schmidt, whether it came from the outside, back row or the right side. Regina's Goski had a strong presence in the front row getting kills from both the right side and the outside. After three strong attacks in a row, Regina pulled ahead from the point for point game. At the technical timeout, Regina led 16-15 over Mount Royal. Mount Royal called a timeout at 20-17 for Regina to try to regroup. Both teams made strategic substitutions for the server trying to secure the win. Mount Royal's Schmidt missed his serve putting the score at 24-20 for Regina. Mount Royal's Saly had a cross-court hit landing on the line giving them one last chance to fight back, but they were unable to pick up Goski's tip from the right side. The Regina Cougars took the first set with a final score of 25-21.
The second set started in favour of Regina. They quickly took a four-point lead and Mount Royal called a timeout at 7-4. Regina had a strong defensive presence at the net consistently putting up a double block. The set consisted of many scrambles as neither team gave up on the ball. Mount Royal's Friesen was most noticeable in the front row with multiple outside kills, both cross-court and down the line. Regina's setter, Fleming surprised everyone with a dump gaining back possession of the serve. At the technical timeout Mount Royal had caught up with a score of 16-14 for Regina. The remainder of the set was close, with longer rallies as the teams picked up one another's' attacks. Ultimately it was Regina who took the set when Mount Royal's Brennan served out the back. The final score was 25-22, and Regina took a two-set lead.
Going into the third set Mount Royal needed the win to keep the match going. Once again Regina took the early lead, maintaining 3-4 points over Mount Royal. Mount Royal's Friesen may have had the play of the game running through the score table to save a ball. This set the pace for the remainder of the set, as both teams refused to give up on stray balls. Mount Royal called a timeout when Regina extended their lead to 13-8. Unfortunately, the timeout didn't stop Regina, as the score was 16-9 at the technical timeout. Once again Mount Royal's Gieske showed up in the front row. He put up multiple blocks and kills out of the middle. With his efforts at the net Mount Royal was able to fight back and tie the score at 21. The teams once again went point for point tied at 24, but it was Mount Royal who took the final push. With a kill from Gieske and an attack error from Regina, they took the set 26-24.
The fourth set turned around for Mount Royal as for the first time in the match they took the early lead. Mount Royal's Pollack had the serve of the game as it hit the tape and rolled over, resulting in an ace. Mount Royal's Lightfoot picked up two short tips with a pancake keeping the momentum rolling in their favour. Regina called a timeout as they were down 5-9. After the time Regina was able to creep in on the lead. At the technical timeout, Mount Royal led 16-11. Mount Royal's Friesen put up two kills from the back row, forcing Regina to take another timeout at 20-14. After the timeout, Regina was down on their luck. Mount Royal's Friesen had their final attack of the game, and they won on an attack error from Regina for a final score of 25-17.
With two sets each under their belt, the teams embarked on a fifth and final set. Mount Royal started with the serve, but Regina took advantage of the first opportunity to attack. As most of the other sets, the trend of going point for point continued. Regina was the first to hit eight, and teams switched sides at a score of 8-6. Battling at the net to try and get the block Regina's McAinsh was called for touching the tape. Both teams were strong in defense creating some long rallies. Regina called a timeout when Mount Royal took a one-point lead 10-9. Both teams were feeling the pressure of the final points and it showed as they both made attack errors in the front row. When the teams both reached 13 Mount Royal got too excited about the attack hitting it out of bounds. Regina took the set, and the match when Mcainsh blocked a middle attack, for a final score of 15-13.
After their third home game going to five sets Mount Royal's Nick Lightfoot was asked, "what do you think goes wrong in the fifth set, that you aren't able to secure the win?" Lightfoot said, "After the fourth, we are so hyped up, and we start to die down in the fifth." He also said, "We didn't execute our offense and the communication wasn't there today."
The two teams both played incredible games. The sets were close, and the rallies showcased the high skill level of each team. The two face off again tomorrow Nov. 11 on Kenyon Court. Will Regina keep up the winning streak, or will Mount Royal clench the win on home court? Tune in at 2:00 p.m. to find out.