CALGARY - Coming off a split weekend the Mount Royal Cougars were hopeful for a win as they took on the University of Alberta Pandas. The two teams met on Kenyon court on Jan. 12, 2018 for the first match of the weekend. After four hard-fought sets, the Cougars came out on top. The final scores were 25-14, 21-25, 25-21 and 25-21.
Kory White led her team in attacks with a total of 15 kills. The Cougars leading attacker was Kitchen with a total of 14, followed close behind by Park with 13. There was no doubt the Cougars were a force to be reckoned with on the back line with a team total of 21 aces. Their overall serve percentage was 0.926 compared to the Pandas 0.873. The Cougars had a team block total of eight and the pandas six.
The Cougars were off to a strong start in the first. With two service aces, they took a three-point lead over the Pandas. The Pandas called the first timeout when Cougars Donaghy went on a serving streak, extending their lead 14-10. When Donaghy served an ace the Cougars entered the timeout up 16-10. The Cougars continued to dominate from the back line, and the Pandas called their second timeout when Kitchen served her first ace of the game. The timeout didn’t stop the Cougars, as the next two serves from Kitchen were also aces. Kitchens serving streak continued giving the Cougars a 24-11 lead. An outside attack from Cougars Park ended the set 25-14.
The Pandas took the early lead in the second. The Cougars called their first timeout down 1-4. The Cougars found themselves down on their luck losing battles at the net. This opened the door for the Pandas to extend their lead. The Pandas called their first timeout when the Cougars found a rhythm, closing in on the Pandas 11-13. When Cougars Zalasky got to the back line she served two aces in a row putting the Cougars within one-point. At the technical timeout, the Pandas led 16-14. After a tip from the Pandas, the Cougars called their second timeout hoping to get their groove back. The timeout fell in the Cougars favour as the Pandas missed their first serve back. The Cougars were unable to close the initial lead the Pandas had gained. The Pandas took the second set 25-21 tying the sets at one each.
The third set was nothing shy of a close game. Neither team took an immediate lead. Fighting for every point the teams were tied at 7. Once again the Cougars were killing it on the back line, with multiple aces coming from nearly every player. The Pandas called the first timeout of the set when the Cougars pulled ahead by one,11-10. At the technical timeout, The Cougars remained ahead by one, 16-15. The Pandas called their second timeout as the end of the set approached and they fell behind 20-23. The Cougars took the set on a back row kill from Kitchen. The final score was 25-21 giving the Cougars a one set advantage going into the fourth.
With the win on the line, the pressure was on for the Cougars entering the fourth set. The Cougars were the first to call a timeout falling behind 6-8. Following the timeout the Cougars scored the next four points, forcing the Pandas to call their first timeout. Cougars Park served an ace, making them the first to 16 at the technical timeout. The Cougars were up by two, leading 16-14. The Cougars were able to maintain the lead they had created, and the Pandas called their second timeout down 19-21. Following the timeout, the Cougars put up a huge double block from Davies and Dandenault. An ace from Cougars Kitchen put them within one-point of the win. The Cougars won the set on a kill from Park from the outside. The final score was 25-21, winning the match three sets to one.
The two teams will play again tomorrow, Jan. 13, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. on Kenyon Court. After coming out victorious night one will the Cougars be able to hold on for a sweep? Be sure to check back to find out the results of night two.