Kayla Kievits, Cougars Athletics
CALGARY – The Cougars hosted their first ever U SPORTS quarterfinal match against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. The Cougars fed off the energy of the crowd giving home team advantage a whole new meaning. The Cougars took game one in three straight sets. The final scores were 25-23, 25-16 and 25-10.
The Booster Juice Player of the Game from the Huskies, Dylan Mortensen and Trent Mounter from the Cougars. Mounter led his team in attacks with a total of 19 kills throughout the three sets. The Cougars had a serve percentage of 0.905 and a total of nine team blocks. The Huskies lead attacker was also their player of the game Mortensen with nine kills. The Huskies had a total of two team blocks and a serve percentage of 0.900.
Both teams came onto the court full of adrenaline and ready to play. It was the Huskies who took an initial lead, but it didn't last long as the Cougars soon after found their rhythm tying the score at 12. A kill from Cougars Tyler Schmidt pushed them into the lead. The Cougars energy escalated quickly, taking them into the technical timeout up 16-12. With momentum swinging their way the Huskies took back control of the serve and yet again tied the set at 19. After losing their lead and falling behind 20-21 the Cougars called a timeout to regroup. The points fell back and forth between the teams, and the score remained close. With the Cougars one point away the Huskies used their first timeout looking to tie the score at 24 and continue play. An attack error from the Huskies cost them the first set, and the Cougars walked away with a 25-23 win.
Rolling off of their win the Cougars kept up their pace. They quickly took a huge lead and forced the Huskies to call a timeout at 7-1. After the Huskies started to gain a few points they had the Cougars rattled. Mount Royal called a timeout at 11-5 in order to get back to three touch plays. The Cougars yet again were in the lead entering the timeout up 16-6. The Huskies were determined to get back in the match. Their persistence helped them to slowly close in on the lead. The Huskies used a timeout down 13-21 looking to re-strategize the next few points. The Cougars proved to be unstoppable and ended the second set with a kill from Schmidt to win 25-16.
No different than the previous set the Cougars fed off the excitement of the crowd after their previous set win. Once again they took an early lead over the Huskies 9-5. After a disputed play regarding the antenna fell in favour of the Cougars, the Huskies received a yellow card. The Huskies were really feeling the pressure as the technical timeout rolled around and they found themselves down 16-7. The Cougars stayed consistent on offense with the taste of a win within reach. The Huskies called a timeout down 10-19 in one final effort to make a comeback. The Cougars were on their A game though and the Huskies couldn't keep up. Mount Royal's Louis Lange ended the set, and the match with a kill from the middle.
When asked what gave their team the competitive edge tonight, Cougar setter Tanner Greves said, "I think we wanted it more than them, and it's just as easy as that."
The teams embark on their second match tomorrow night, Feb. 23, 2019 on Kenyon Court at 7 p.m. With the Cougars up one match it will be do or die for the Huskies in order to keep their playoff dreams alive.