Kayla Kievits, Cougars Athletics
CALGARY – The Mount Royal Cougars split the weekend in their final games of 2018. After falling in the match on night one in three sets, Mount Royal was able to reverse their results on the second night against the Regina Cougars. The final scores were 25-21, 25-21 and 26-24.
The Booster Juice players of the game were from Mount Royal, Cassidy Kitchen and from Regina, Ashlee Sandiford. Kitchen led her team in attacks racking up a total of 16 kills, as well as a service ace. Mount Royal led the match in service percentage with a total of 0.960 compared to Regina's 0.806. Mount Royal also led in team blocks with a total of six, and Regina with five.
With strategic plays at the net Mount Royal pulled ahead in an early lead 8-4 in the first set. An ace from Mount Royal's Carly Davies pushed their lead 13-8 and Regina called the first timeout of the match. As the technical timeout rolled around Regina had closed the gap in the score down by only one point 15-16. When the luck fell on the side of the Mount Royal Cougars, Regina used their second timeout hoping to regroup falling behind 17-19. In control of the serve the Mount Royal Cougars continued to grow their lead. An ace from Mount Royal's Nicky Zalasky put them ahead 22-19. With the taste of victory in their mouths, Mount Royal used their first timeout ahead 23-21 with hopes of coming back and finishing the set. The timeout was a successful play for Mount Royal as the next two points fell their way and they took a victory in the first set 25-21.
Unlike the first set, neither team pulled away to an early lead as the second set was underway. The two teams went point-for-point finding themselves tied at sevens. Both teams had a heavy presence at the net getting hands on almost every attack. It was Regina that found themselves with the first notable lead up 15-12. The Mount Royal Cougars quickly fought back but were unable to stop Regina from being the first to 16 points. Regina kept their lead 16-14 at the second set technical timeout. The two points didn't stop Mount Royal, after the technical timeout they quickly came back and the two teams found themselves tied once again at 18. When Mount Royal took the next point, as well as a one-point lead, Regina used their first timeout looking to re-group. The timeout worked in favour of Regina as they regained control of the serve. A kill on an overpass from Mount Royal's Zalasky made the score 21-19 in their favour. Regina called their second timeout looking to take back their lead. Regina played strategically at the net blocking Mount Royal's attacks bringing the score back to an even playing field at 21. Mount Royal didn't show any mercy and quickly ended the match scoring the next four points. The final score was 25-21, putting Mount Royal up two sets to zero.
The third set started similar to the second, point-for-point. The two teams found themselves fighting to be the first to pull away. After being tied at seven, Regina took control of the serve and went on a run pulling ahead 10-7. For the first time in the match Mount Royal was first to call a timeout. Not finding their groove after their timeout Mount Royal fell behind even further. With Regina up 13-9, Mount Royal used their second timeout fairly early in the set. Yet again the timeout didn't work in their favour. Only gaining a single point Mount Royal was quickly down by six, 10-16 at the technical timeout. Thinking about the win fired the fuel in the Mount Royal Cougars and they were on the rise for their comeback. Quickly closing the gap to only a three-point lead, Regina called a timeout up 18-15. An ace from Mount Royals Cassidy Kitchen brought them even closer only down by one, 17-18. A few short points later Regina used their second timeout finding their lead gone with the score tied at 19. The next points were hard earned by each team, finding themselves going point-for-point yet again. Ultimately a right side kill from Mount Royals Davies ended the match with a final score of 26-24.
After a hard fought comeback in set three, the Mount Royal Cougars end 2018 in a clean sweep against Regina. The girls will take a few weeks off for the holidays, but are back on Kenyon court Jan. 4 to kick off the New Year against the UBC Thunderbirds. Be sure to tune in as the first serve happens at 6 p.m.