CALGARY – The Mount Royal Cougars earned crucial victory over the Saskatchewan Huskies on Saturday night at Kenyon Court. The Cougars finished off the weekend sweep in three straight sets 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 25-22).
Josh Kirkham and Riley Friesen lead the way for the Cougars. Kirkham finished with 13 kills, while Friesen had 11 of his own.
The first set provided plenty of entertainment for the home crowd at Kenyon Court as the intense back and forth action carried all the way to the halfway point of the set.The momentum shifted when Samuel Brisbane set up Josh Kirkham for a beautiful kill to give Mount Royal a five-point lead. Mount Royal rode that momentum for the remainder of the set, taking the first 25-18.
The beginning of the second set somewhat mirrored the first as neither team would allow the other to go on an extended run.
Riley Friesen provided just the spark the Cougars needed. The fourth-year outside hitter smashed a couple of empathic kills to give MRU the lead halfway through the second set.
The chemistry between Brisbane and Kirkham was evident down the stretch. Brisbane set up Kirkham beautifully on three separate occasions. Kirkham's kills provided Mount Royal with three out of their last four points as they won the set by a score of 25-21.
In the third set, neither team could build a comfortable lead as the intensity continued to rise. With the score locked at 20 apiece, the Cougars stepped up when it mattered most. Riley Friesen's ace ignited his Cougar teammates and forced the Huskies to take a timeout.
After a Huskie error and a Josh Kirkham kill, the Huskies called another timeout with their backs against the wall. An Andrew Nelseon attack error sealed the Huskies' fate as Mount Royal took the third set, the match and the series.
The Cougars improve to 12-10 on the season and now sit in sixth place in the Canada West conference. Saskatchewan falls to 11-11 and for the moment are on the outside looking in at the Canada West playoffs.
Mount Royal will travel to Winnipeg for two games against the Winnipeg Wesmen next weekend. First serve for Friday's match is scheduled for 7:30pm CST.
Saskatchewan will travel home to host the TRU Wolfpack next weekend. They will play an afternoon game on Friday, beginning at 3:30 CST.