Kayla Kievits, Cougars Athletics
CALGARY – The Cougars came out swinging on the second night of a two-day match up against the Spartans. Although they were tenacious they were unable to keep up with the Spartans quick paced play. The Spartans swept the match in three sets. The final scores were, 25-13, 25-21 and 25-18.
The Booster Juice players of the game, from the Spartans, Savannah Purdy and from the Cougars Sarah McKillcan. Spartans Hilary Howe led her team in attacks with a total of 14 kills. The Spartans had eight team blocks and an overall serve percentage of 0.851. Cougars lead attacker was Dholi Thokbuom with a total of 11 kills. The team had three blocks and a serve percentage of 0.925.
After losing the first match against the Spartans the Cougars started night two thirsty for revenge. While the first few points fell back and forth, the Spartans took the first lead. Down 5-9 the Cougars called their first timeout in order to readjust their game plan. The timeout, however, threw no wrench in the Spartans groove. They continued to extend their lead up 16-7 at the technical timeout. Unfortunately for the Cougars the Spartans were unbreakable on both offence and defense making them a force to be reckoned with. The set quickly ended with a middle kill from Spartans Avery Heppell. The final score was 25-13 in favour of the Spartans.
The second set shifted gears and the Cougars were the first to take a lead. Finding their way around the Spartans defense put them up 10-7. The lead, however, didn't last long and the Spartans tied the score at 11. Both teams hustled, ensuring the ball didn't hit the ground on their side of the net. The points continued to fall back and forth, once again tied at 15. After a missed serve from the Cougars, the Spartans held the lead, 16-15 going into the technical timeout. The set remained close, unlike the first, but in the end the results ended the same. The Spartans won their second set in a row with a final score of 25-21.
With momentum on their side the Spartans yet again were off to an early lead. The Cougars called their first timeout early in the set falling behind 2-7. After regaining serve following the timeout, the Cougars went on a run tying the score at seven. When the Cougars took their first lead of the game, 8-7 the Spartans called a timeout looking to re-group. Similar to the previous two sets the teams fell into a pattern of going point for point. The Spartans held a one-point lead at the technical timeout 16-15. The Spartans went on a run quickly extending their lead 19-15. The Cougars used their second timeout in hopes of keeping the match alive. The Spartans, however, did not give up their lead and an outside kill from Hilary Howe ended the set 25-18 and the match in three sets.
Cougars libero Nataliia Klimenova said, "We need to change our mentality. The skills are there and we are all good players but we need to believe that we can win."
The Cougars play back-to-back weekends, and will return home to Kenyon court next weekend to take on their hometown rivals the Dinos. The first match happens Friday Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. Be sure to tune in as it is the last regular game of the season with home court advantage.