SASKATOON – The University of Saskatchewan Huskies picked up a statement victory in a match between two programs that are destined for the postseason, as they defeated the visiting Mount Royal Cougars 3-1 (25-20, 20-25, 25-23, 25-21) on Ron & Jane Graham Centre Court inside the PAC on Friday, Feb. 19.
Despite the looss, it was a big day for the Cougars as Tyler Schmidt as he breaks the career points record previously held by Brad Gunter.
Schmidt had a game-high 22 kills for the Cougars. Ty Moline and Luis Lange each recorded two service-aces and combined for 16 kills.
The one-two punch of Dylan Mortenson and Colin Fraser paced the Huskies in the victory, as the pair of outside hitters combined for 27 kills on the night. Evan Parchomchuk had a game-high ten digs for Saskatchewan, while CJ Gavlas chalked 38 assists.
With the win, Saskatchewan moved to 11-10 and ahead of Thompson Rivers for fifth-place in the standings. The Wolfpack have a match in hand will take the floor later on tonight in Kelowna against UBC Okanagan. Meanwhile, Mount Royal, who entered the afternoon tied with Alberta for third, falls to 15-6.
After a back-and-forth opening set, the Huskies began to pull away late in the frame. Gavlas beautifully executed a dump that caught the Cougars off guard to make it 21-16 in favor of the home side. After Moline's service error led to set point for Saskatchewan, another Mount Royal service error sealed the set win for the hosts. The Huskies were extremely efficient in the frame, as they finished with a .565 hitting percentage. Mortenson and Schmidt paced their respective clubs with four kills in the set.
After getting out to a quick start in the second frame, Mount Royal took a 12-8 lead thanks a monster block from Moline and Saskatchewan was never able to get themselves back into the set. Moline provided a kill and followed that up with a service ace to make it 23-19 in favor of the visitors. The Cougars were provided set point after a kill from Schmidt, and the fifth-year outside hitter closed out the frame in style with a service ace to tie the match up at one set apiece. Schmidt provided seven of his teams 13 kills in the frame, with the visitors finishing with a .290 hitting percentage in the set. The Huskies red-hot start cooled off in the second, as the team finished with a .182 hitting percentage.
Three-straight kills from the Huskies, with two coming from Fraser and another from Cody Caldwell helped give the home side a 10-8 lead early in the third set. Saskatchewan was able to maintain a comfortable lead until late in the frame when Mount Royal closed the gap. After Fraser's kill made it 23-19 in favor of the Huskies, the Cougars rallied off four consecutive points to knot the match at 23-23. However, after Mason Scott gave the hosts the lead with the kill, an attacking error by Schmidt sealed the set for Saskatchewan. After an inefficient second frame, the Huskies bounced back with a .435 hitting percentage in the third.
Mount Royal and Saskatchewan exchanged points throughout the entirety of the fourth frame, with neither team able to pull away until late. Fraser, who is playing in his final regular season action at the PAC this weekend, helped the Huskies pull away. Fraser recorded a kill and a service ace to give the hosts a 20-18 lead. Two consecutive errors from Mount Royal made the score 25-21, as Saskatchewan sealed the win in four sets.
The Huskies and the Cougars will conclude their regular season campaigns tomorrow afternoon in the team's final opportunity to fine-tune their squads before Canada West postseason action beginning next weekend.