Lions Fight Hard Against the Trojans
Women's Game: Lions Fight Hard But Lose In Four To Visiting Trojans
After losing in three very quick sets at SAIT on Thursday, the Lions Women’s Volleyball team was eager to bounce back and compete with their crosstown rivals. SAIT, one of the South’s top three teams, was gunning for the weekend sweep going into the Christmas break. Unfortunately for the home team, the Trojans came out on top in four sets and completed a nine game winning streak.
Right off the bat the Lions showed their opponents that this game wouldn’t be another rout, keeping the score neck-and-neck off of strong serving and blocking from several players including Shaelyn Mendes and Ashleigh McKinnon. Late in the set the score was tied 21-21 before SAIT pulled away, winning 25-23 after a kill from fifth-year leftside Megan Brennan.
The second set was just as close as the first, with the Lions taking an early 9-3 lead before SAIT fought back to make it just 15-14 for the home team. The Lions pulled within two points of the set victory after a block from Mendes and setter Maddi Richter made it 23-21, but SAIT came back to tie it and force extra points. A kill from Ashleigh McKinnon made it 25-24 for her squad, and another kill down the line from McKinnon gave the Lions the second set.
The next set was just as close as the first two until the final points; Ambrose led at 20-18 after a run of 4 straight kills from Julia Kemper, but the Trojans responded with a 7-1 run to take the set 25-21. SAIT’s momentum carried into the 4th and final set, taking an early 11-3 lead off of very strong serving from Shantelle Jonassen and frustrating defense against the leftside attacks of Julia Kemper and Mady Kerr. The Lions made a push late in the set, but their deficit was already too great and the 4th set ended at 25-15 for SAIT. Ambrose P.O.G was libero Brooklyn Dyck.
Head Coach Colin Kubinec believed his team has a lot to learn from this weekend’s games. “We had a video session today and I think it really showed how SAIT exposed the weaknesses in our game, so we have lots of work to do but still want to focus on the process.” Despite a disappointing end to the first semester, the Lions remain motivated to reach the level of success they’ll need to push into the postseason. “We’re still in a three-way tie for a playoff position,” said Kubinec, “so we will be very hungry to make those adjustments.”
The Lions’ first games of the new year will be against the Medicine Hat Rattlers, first on January 6th in the Lions’ Den and then the following night in the Snake Pit.
- Brent Ingram
Men's Game: Lions Fall Flat Against Trojans At Home
After an exciting game at SAIT on Thursday night, and given the competitive rivalry these teams share, the Lions hoped to use their home court advantage to get a win heading into the winter break. Ambrose P.O.G Josh Rice described the pre-game mood in an interview after the game tonight. “We were pretty fired up, and after a close loss like that we came into this one really wanting it.”
Unfortunately for the Lions, SAIT’s offense was firing on all cylinders and consistent serving made it difficult for Ambrose to respond in kind. SAIT’s lead stretched as far as 20-11 before a late push from Ambrose brought it back to 20-24, but a missed serve gave SAIT the first set.
The next set was quite a bit closer, as the Ambrose offense finally upped its effectiveness and the Trojan serve was controlled more easily. A rightside swing down the line from Keaton Strom made it 14-13, as the two teams stayed within one or two points of each other for most of the set. Unfortunately for the home team, a couple of crucial passing errors late in the set gave their opponents the edge and Ambrose went down two sets to none, finishing 27-25.
The third set was more of the same in regards to early ties and late leads; down by 5, Ambrose tried to fight their way back into the game after miraculous defensive play by the Lions and a deep line shot by Keaton Strom made it 16-20. An offensive drive very late in the set made it 22-24, but a crosscourt kill from Trojans leftside Tyler Latu’ila finished the game in three sets.
Despite tonight’s loss, Lions libero Josh Rice is optimistic for what the new year has in store for his team. “We struggled a bit on offense, but you know, that happens, and we're getting better so hopefully this Christmas break we’ll get a lot of growth in and come back just rippin’ hard in the rest of the season.”
Friday, January 6th will feature the Lions going up against the currently second place Medicine Hat Rattlers in the Lions’ Den. Join us there or watch our livestream at acactv.ca to catch the action when it resumes next semester.
- Brent Ingram
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