CALGARY – Jan. 5, 2018 marked the first game of the New Year and second semester for The Mount Royal Cougars. Playing their first game back on home court versus the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack. After a refreshing holiday break the Cougars were able to secure a win. The final scores were 25-18, 25-21 16-21 and 25-17.
The Cougar's lead attacker was Donaghy with a total of 15 attacks in the four sets. The WolfPack's lead attacker Windhorst also racked up a total of 15 kills. The WolfPack had an outstanding service record with a serving percentage of 0.952 compared to the Cougars 0.867. The Cougars racked up a total of 12.5 team blocks, and the WolfPack 8. The Cougars player of the game was Park following close behind in kills with a total of 10, and a 0.950 receive percentage.
The first set started out in favour of the Cougars, taking an early lead 8-5. It was attack errors from the Cougars front row that put the WolfPack back in the game tied at 10. The Cougars regained focus and their attacks once again began hitting the court. With the WolfPack struggling to pick up the attacks, the Cougars regained their lead at the technical time out with a score of 16-11. Following the technical time out Cougars Donaghy was on fire. Feeding her the ball the Cougars kept their lead 19-14 when the Wolfpack called a timeout. Following the timeout the Cougars found success in feeding the ball to Park. She ended the set with a kill from power for a final score of 25-18.
After winning the first set the Cougars carried their momentum into the second. The Cougars yet again got out to an early lead and the WolfPack called a timeout when they were down 4-8. Following the timeout Cougar's Davies helped to keep the lead with a service ace. At the technical time out the Cougars were up by six, 16-10. The Cougars were getting hands on most attacks, but having trouble keeping the block in the court. The WolfPack used it to their advantage closing the gap to only a two-point lead 17-19. With the WolfPack on their tails, the Cougars called a timeout. Earning the next two points after the timeout the Cougars took back their lead. The WolfPack was unable to close the gap a second time and the Cougars won the second set on a kill from Kitchen for a final score of 25-21.
The third set took a different course than the first two, and for the first time the WolfPack took the early lead. The Cougars called a time out when they fell behind 5-8. The time out went in their favour as they regained the serve after a kill from Kitchen. The kill gave the Cougars the momentum they needed to tie the game at eight. Both teams resorted to tipping, trying to strategically place their attacks. At the technical time out the WolfPack regained their lead 16-10. The Cougars were feeling the pressure of the WolfPack's lead, making critical errors, and putting the ball out of bounds. The Cougars called a timeout to regroup when they were down 20-15. The time out went in their favour as the WolfPack missed their next serve. The Cougars were unable to get their momentum back and the WolfPack won the set with a final score of 25-16
After losing the third set the Cougars were hungry to close the match. They once again took an early lead pulling ahead 7-4. Knowing it was do or die the WolfPack pushed back and tied the game at 11. After a kill from Cougar's Davies, they led 16-13 at the technical time out. After a huge block from Cougar's Zalasky and Park, the WolfPack called a time out falling behind 14-19. Following the time out Cougar's Dandenault scored a service ace. The WolfPack used their second timeout with the score 14-21. Although they put up a hard fight the WolfPack was unable to break the Cougars momentum. The Cougars won the set on a right side kill from Donaghy for a final score of 25-17. The Cougars won the match three sets to one.
Thompson Rivers Abby Spratt, a Calgary native said, "I thought we played aggressively but in the end, things just didn't go our way. I'm really hoping tomorrow we can come out and pull off a win."
The two teams meet again tomorrow Jan. 5, 2018 on Kenyon Court at 6 p.m. The Cougars are hoping to keep their winning streak going as they ring in the New Year.