EDMONTON – In a dominant performance, the No.7 University of Alberta Pandas serve up a win in game one of the Battle of Alberta, defeating the University of Calgary Dinos by a 3-0 score (25-12, 25-22, 25-14), Friday night at Saville Community Sports Centre.
With the win, the Panda remain fifth in Canada West standings, trailing their crosstown rivals, the MacEwan University Griffins, by two points. Meanwhile, the Dinos are still looking to secure their spot in the playoffs as they sit four points back of the final spot.
Leading the hunt for the Pandas was senior middle Sydney Warchola, who was perfect on the night, hitting eight kills on eight attempts. Alongside her was third-year outside hitter Julia Zonneveld with 15 kills on 20 attempts.
Across the net, Calgary senior middle Beth Vinnell finished the night with a team-leading eight kills, while first-year outside hitter Trinity Solecki and senior middle Autumn Davidson both had seven kills.
Lots of back-and-forth action ensued to begin the match, with both teams exchanging the game’s first eight points. However, Alberta managed to string a run together with fourth-year middle Vanessa Jarman serving to help the Pandas jump out to an 11-4 lead, building momentum for the rest of the set and taking the opening frame in just 18 minutes.
It was less of a one-sided affair in the second, with the Dinos fighting to not drop two straight sets. Led by Vinnell, who had five kills in the set, Calgary battled with the set coming down to the final few points. The Dinos were still unable to handle the Pandas, however, as Warchola’s tip was mishandled, sending the ball into the net and ending the second set on an error.
In what seemed to be another tough battle in the third and final set, both teams exchanged chances, but the Pandas once again found the momentum, mirroring the first set and doubling up on the Dinos, 16-8. Wasting no time, Alberta extinguished any hopes their guests may have had, finishing the set on another Dinos error when third-year Kenzie Vaandering’s kill went far past the backline, handing the win to the home team.
Both teams will meet again tomorrow night for game two of the weekend series, starting at 5:00 P.M. MT.