Dan Khavkin, Cougars Athletics.
CALGARY- The 5-5 Mount Royal University Cougars hosted the first half of their final weekend of play before the winter break against trailing 4-6 Regina Cougars at Kenyon Court, but dropped the first match in a 3-0 sweep (21-25, 17-25, 19-25).
MRU coach Sandra Lamb commented post-game saying, "We just got to be better…. If you don't win the last serve you don't win the game. Credit to Regina, they stayed consistent and did what they had to do."
Regina went into the final weekend on a two-game losing skid after being swept at the hands of UBC while MRU was looking to build off a win after splitting a series in Winnipeg against the Wesmen.
Heading into the contest, Mount Royal rank among one of the top schools in errors, ranking second in Canada West. They tallied 17 errors in the match tonight.
Cougar Libero Natalia Klimenova went into the contest tied for third place in the conference for digs with 152 heading into the final weekend of play, contributing team high of 16 tonight.
In the first set, both Cougar squads clawed at each other, forcing short stretches of consecutive points while the other bridged the deficit.
Regina jumped on a 6-1 lead before MRU tied the set at 7-7. After Regina got another short lead at 11-7, MRU bridged the gap being down only one at 16-15 at the first technical timeout.
This theme went on back and forth until Regina picked up the first match point, closing out the first set 25-21
Regina continued the pressure early in the second set, jumping to another early lead of 8-3 thanks to a lot of second-effort and point saving plays. MRU again managed to pick up a momentum cutting their deficit to one being down 11-10 with a momentum swing of their own but Regina kept an arms-length away with a 16-11 advantage at the second technical timeout.
Regina kept the second portion of the set in cruise control and took their second consecutive set at 25-17 for their second match point of the game.
MRU showed a pulse of life in a potential game-ending set, taking a 4-1 lead but couldn't keep up with the second effort plays Regina kept displaying on a threatening and consistent level throughout the match.
MRU was once again down at the 16-point mark for the third straight set.
Regina didn't let off and finished the third set and the sweep of MRU with a 25-19 score to improve their record to 5-6 while MRU drop to the same record.
"It's critical," coach Lamb commented on the importance of the semester closing game tomorrow night. "We're both in the same position fighting for a spot in the table. Next semester isn't going to be any easier."
First serve tomorow is set at Kenyon Court for 5 p.m.