Kayla Kievits, Cougars Athletics
CALGARY - Off to a strong start, things were looking good for the Mount Royal Cougars on home court. But a tenacious effort from the University of Alberta Golden Bears earned them the win on night one of a two night match up in five sets. The final scores were 23-25, 22-25, 25-15, 25-15 and 15-7. The Booster Juice Players of the game were Cougars Lightfoot and Golden Bears Sani. Both players were the leading attacker for their team. Sani with a total of 20 and Lightfoot with a total of 12. The Cougars had a total side out percentage of 56, and the Golden Bears 67. The Golden Bears team block total was 13, with the Cougars trailing close behind at 12.5
The teams were both off to a strong start as the set began. They both found success in an unpredictable offensive system mixing up their attacks. It was the Cougars who took the first lead of the set, forcing the Golden Bears to call a timeout as they fell behind 8-12. Following the timeout, the Cougars lost their consistency opening the door for the Golden Bears to close the gap. Two serving aces from Cougars Lightfoot took them into the technical timeout leading 16-11. The Cougars were able to hold on to their lead forcing the Golden Bears to use their second timeout still down by five, 15-20. The Golden Bears were able to pull themselves back into the game with a few massive digs. The Cougars used their first timeout of the set as their gap shortened 23-21. Ultimately the Cougars took the set 25-23 after an outside kill from Friesen.
Rolling on their momentum the Cougars yet again took the early lead. With a strong presence on defense, they forced the Golden Bears to call their first timeout as they led 7-4. Following the timeout, Cougars Greves served an ace. With an overpass from the Golden Bears, Cougars Friesen took advantage tipping the ball straight down. Both teams fell short at the back line with three missed serves in a row. The Golden Bears found success in feeding the ball to McMullin, with continuous kills from the outside bringing the Golden Bears within one-point. The Cougars kept their lead 16-14 at the technical timeout. Scoring the following two-points the Cougars could taste the end. The Golden Bears used their second timeout as they fell behind 16-20. The timeout proved successful for the Golden Bears with an attack followed by an ace. This set off the Cougars first timeout. Slowly making their way back the Golden Bears didn't give up on any balls. The Cougars called their second timeout as the Golden Bears approached their lead 21-23. The Cougars won the second set on a double block form Greves and Moline 25-22. The Cougars lead two sets to zero entering the third set.
For the first time, the Golden Bears were the first to take a lead. Immediately up by five-points, they forced the Cougars to call their first timeout falling behind 1-6. Once again Golden Bears McMullin proved to be a force to be reckoned with on offence. The Golden Bears took their lead and ran with it. They entered the technical timeout with an eight-point lead 16-8. Coming out of the technical timeout the Cougars scored the first point back on a triple block. The Golden Bears took advantage of the Cougars hands swiping balls out of bounds. After an ace from Golden Bears Sani, the Cougars called their second timeout behind 10-20. The timeout worked in favour of the Cougars as Sani missed his next serve. Trying to stay in the game Cougars Moline served an ace. The Cougars were unable to close the 10-point lead the Golden Bears had gained. The Golden Bears took the third set 25-15. The Cougars were still up two sets to one entering the fourth.
Following the trend of the previous set, the Golden Bears were first to take a lead as the Cougars struggled on defense. The Cougars were getting their hands on the ball but were unsuccessful in making the first pass. The Cougars were the first to call a timeout falling behind three-points 7-10. The Golden Bears extended their lead 16-10 entering the technical timeout. The Golden Bears didn't let up on their offense racking up attack after attack, extending their lead by 10 points. The Golden Bears won the set 25-15 forcing a fifth set.
Tied at two sets each the stakes were high entering the fifth set. The Golden Bears were off to an early lead 3-0. The Cougars called their first timeout hoping to get on the board. A tip from Lightfoot gave the Cougars their first point. The Golden Bears didn't let up and gained back control of the serve right away. The Golden Bears were the first to eight, the teams switched sides at a score of 8-1. The Golden Bears played smart switching their offence tactics. The Cougars were unable to close the initial gap the Golden Bears created and they took the set 15-7 on a double block. The win sealed the match win for the Golden Bears.
The two teams face off again tomorrow, Jan 13, 2018, at 4 p.m. on Kenyon Court. Be sure to check back to see the results of the second match.