Kayla Kievits, Cougars Athletics
CALGARY - The Cougars took to Kenyon Court one last time in 2018 facing off against the UBC Thunderbirds. Their final game before the New Year was a clean sweep with the final scores being 25-19, 25-16 and 25-20
The Booster Juice players of the game for the Cougars, Trent Mounter and from the Thunderbirds Jordan Deshane. Mounter led his team in attacks with a total of 14 kills over the three sets. Cougars Tyler Schmidt was also a stand out player with 11 kills and three service aces. Thunderbirds held a slight advantage in serve percentage with a total of 0.821 compared to the Cougars 0.811.
With set one underway the Cougars came out ready to play. After winning the match the previous night in four sets, they were hungry for another win. Off to an early lead the Cougars were quickly up 12-7 when the Thunderbirds called their first timeout. Strong offence from Cougars Tyler Schmidt allowed them to increase their lead 16-8 at the first technical timeout. The Cougars kept their momentum rolling, and the Thunderbirds used their second timeout, down 18-9. After a couple close calls regarding the net fell in favour of the Thunderbirds, the Cougars called their first timeout, still leading 18-13. The Thunderbirds continued to close in on the lead the Cougars had gained. Finding themselves up by only three, 22-19 the Cougars used their second timeout. Proving to be a successful play, the Cougars got the point following their timeout when the Thunderbirds missed their serve. An ace from Cougars Luis Lange ended the set 25-19.
The second set started with points bouncing back and forth between the teams. It was the Cougars however that once again pulled away to take the first lead. After an ace from Cougars Schmidt put them ahead by five, 10-5 the Thunderbirds called a timeout. The timeout worked against the Cougars as they missed their next serve. The Cougars mistake allowed the Thunderbirds to quickly close in on their lead. Despite the Thunderbirds starting to catch up it didn't take the Cougars long to get back into the swing of things, taking back their lead 16-11 at the technical timeout. Finding themselves unsuccessful in scoring a point, the Thunderbirds used their second timeout down 11-18. Cougars Scott Gieske was on fire with a massive kill from the middle, followed by a service ace putting them ahead 22-14. The Cougars finished the set on a missed attack from the Thunderbirds with a final score of 25-16. The Cougars enter the third set up two sets to none.
After two tough losses the Thunderbirds stepped it up entering the third. For the first time the Cougars did not take the lead, but rather the teams fought back and forth for each point, remaining at a tied score. Falling behind two-points 12-14, the Thunderbirds called their first timeout in order to regroup. The Cougars kept their lead and entered the technical timeout ahead 16-13. Two aces from Cougars Schmidt forced the Thunderbirds to use their second timeout falling behind 13-18. The timeout threw Schmidt for a loop missing his next serve. With a change in momentum the Thunderbirds quickly caught back up. Ahead by now only two-points the Cougars called a timeout 22-20 looking to end the match. Coming out from the timeout the Cougars did just that. Not giving the Thunderbirds a single scoring opportunity the Cougars win the set 25-20 and take the match.
Tonight was the final game of the year for the Cougars. They will hit the road in the New Year, but return to Kenyon Court Feb. 1 to face off against Trinity Western University. Be sure to tune in to see if their winning streak will continue into 2019. The first serve is at 8 p.m. following the women's game at 6 p.m.