Matt Gutsch - Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics
EDMONTON – Meg Casault recorded 12 kills to power the No.1 ranked University of Alberta Pandas volleyball team to a straight sets (25-14, 25-18 and 25-18) win over the Regina Cougars on Saturday night at the Saville Community Sports Centre.
NEED to know: Kacey Otto moved into third place, all-time, in Canada West career aces
Game Star: Meg Casault (UofA) – 12 kills, .524 attack %, 1 aces, 7 digs
Game Star: Kathleen Bruce (Regina) – 8 kills, .158 attack %, 1 ace, 3 digs
Stat Line: Pandas – 45 kills, 12 errors, 89 attacks, .371%, 43 assists, 7 aces, 4 serve errors, 6 receive errors, 41 digs, 4 total blocks. Cougars – 27 kills, 15 errors, 85 attacks, .141%, 25 assists, 6 aces, 8 serve errors, 7 receive errors, 30 digs, 2 total blocks
Casault, a fifth-year in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, had the match high on Saturday, but she also recorded a sterling 52% attack percentage, as well as seven digs and one ace. She now has 140 kills on the season, which ranks her fourth in Canada West, while her 4.12 kills per set rating is third best in the conference.
Teammate Kacey Otto, who broke the U of A record for career aces last weekend during a sweep of the Winnipeg Wesmen, moved into third place in Canada West history in aces as well, earning two on Saturday night to give her 141 in her career. The team record previously belonged to Jaki Ellis.
The weekend sweep over the Cougars improves the Pandas to 10-0 as they head into the Christmas season and exam break. They'll also finish the first half as the No.1 team in the nation, and will return to the Saville floor on December 29 when they host their annual New Year's Classic. The 2016-17 edition features the Regina Cougars, Saskatchewan Huskies and Calgary Dinos and will run from December 29 – 31.
Regina, on the other hand, will continue the search for their season opening win after dropping all 10 matches in the first half. The Cougars were led on Saturday by Kathleen Bruce who banked eight kills in the loss, as well as one ace, three digs and one solo block. Fifth-year outside hitter Jenna Krahn had an effective night for the Cougars as well, putting down six kills and a 22% attack percentage, which was one of the highest on the team among players with more than two kills.
The Cougars had their best set in the first, earning a slim lead at 12-9, before the Pandas rallied to put up 16 points to Regina's two to win the set 25-14.
Although they scored 18 points in both the second and third sets, they only had the lead once more in the two sets combined, that coming in the third.
The Pandas and Cougars will meet on December 29 in the New Year's Classic here in Edmonton, but Alberta will resume Canada West play on January 6, 2017 with a two-game series in Brandon. Regina, meanwhile, will restart their conference play the same weekend with a home series against the Mount Royal Cougars.