Kayla Kievits, Cougars Athletics
CALGARY – The Cougars were unable to shut down the Thunderbirds on Kenyon Court. After night one of a two-night match up the Thunderbirds were up three sets to zero. The Cougars came in fighting on night two but were unable to defeat the Thunderbirds after taking them to five sets. The final scores of the second night matches were 25-22, 25-17, 17-25,12-25 and 15-12.
The Thunderbirds had a strong offence with a total of 57 kills, 13 of which from Kiera Van Ryk. Anna Price and Olivia Furlan both also racked up a total of 12 kills. The Cougars Alex Donaghy led in offence with a total of 13 out of the teams 48 kills. The Cougars had better luck finding the court on their serves with a serving percentage of 0.931.
Hungry for vengeance after yesterday's loss the Cougars came out ready to play in the second match against the Thunderbirds. The first set started very even between the two teams. Both teams with strategic attacks and great pick-ups. The set went point for point, neither team being able to pull ahead by more than two points. At the technical timeout, the Thunderbirds had a slight advantage leading 16-14. Following the technical timeout, the Cougars had a hard time keeping the ball in the court, missing serves and attacks. They called a timeout when they fell behind 20-16. Struggling to regain control of the serve the Cougars called another timeout when the Thunderbirds extended their lead 23-18. The Thunderbirds took their lead to the end winning the set on a kill from the middle from Ciara Hanly. The final score was 25-22.
The Cougars switched things up a little in the second set subbing in players, Ciera Talbot and Haley Roe hoping to change their luck. The Cougars kept things very close for the first half of the set going into the technical timeout only down by one, 15-16. It was after the timeout that they struggled to keep up with the Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds slowly pulled ahead after a serving run from Olivia Furlan. The Cougars called two timeouts in efforts to regain their composure. The Thunderbirds won the second set 25-17 when the Cougars block attempt touched the antenna.
For the first time, the Cougars took the early lead in the third set. With massive attacks from Alex Donaghy, the Cougars quickly led 6-2. The Thunderbirds called a timeout when the Cougars were u 9-3. After the timeout, the Thunderbirds fought back bringing it back to a one-point game. At the technical timeout, the Cougars held their lead 16-14. The Cougars were strong on defense blocking the Thunderbirds attacks. The Thunderbirds called a timeout as the Cougars lead grew 21-17. The Cougars pulled off the win on an ace from Chantal Park for a final score of 25-17.
With a win under their belt, the Cougars came out swinging. With a strong presence from middle Carly Davies, the Cougars were able to take a lead. The Thunderbirds had a hard time keeping their attacks in the court as they fought to close the five-point gap. The Thunderbirds called a timeout when the Cougars led 13-8. Cougars Davies went on a serving run which included two aces, taking the Cougars lead to 16-9 at the technical timeout. Cougars Ciera Talbot was a strong presence from the outside, putting multiple attacks off the block. The Cougars won the set 25-12 forcing the Thunderbirds to a fifth.
Going into the fifth set the Thunderbirds felt the pressure and took a lead 7-2. They were the first to reach eight, forcing the teams to switch sides at a score of 8-5. Following the side change, both teams missed their serves. The Cougars were able to fight back within one-point. And after a triple block, they tied the game at nine. After a dump from Thunderbirds setter, they regained their lead. The Thunderbirds won the match on a kill from Kiera Van Ryk with a final score of 15-12.
Thunderbirds Anna Price said, "This is what we expected from the Cougars. They always come out strong on night two, and we knew they were going to test us. It took everything in us to finish with the win. We really worked as a team in those final moments which helped bring our victory."
The Cougars have a few weeks off to practice and regroup. They play again on Jan. 5, 2018. They will face Thompson Rivers University at 7:30 p.m.