EDMONTON – The No.3 University of Alberta Golden Bears continue to roll along, earning their ninth-straight victory in a straight-sets result (25-15, 25-18, 25-21) over the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, Friday night at Saville Community Sports Centre.
Sophomore outside hitter Taryq Sani netted 11 kills for the Golden Bears, fourth-year left side Alex McMullin adding seven while fourth-year setter Luke Brisbane recorded 26 assists.
The win improves Alberta's record to 16-3, putting them one win away from clinching home-court advantage in the quarterfinal round. Saskatchewan, on the other hand, drops to 9-12, leaving them in seventh place in the Canada West standings but unable to move ahead of idle Thompson Rivers.
The Golden Bear victory also marks Terry Danyluk's 934th overall game as a head coach with Alberta, surpassing legendary Golden Bears basketball coach, Don Horwood, for third place with the University of Alberta.
Early 5-0 and 6-1 runs propelled the Bears to a big lead in the opening set, doubling up on the visitors by the media timeout.
The Bears were dynamite on both sides of the stat sheet, recording four total team blocks as well as 10 kills while the Huskies, coming into the weekend with six wins in their last eight, struggled mightily with five service errors, including set point, and balancing out at a 0% attack percentage despite their eight kills.
The road squad fared better in the second set, Mortensen scoring seven of his team's nine kills and the team attacking above 20%, but Alberta improved as well, firing at an impressive 52% with 14 kills, chipping in extra points where they could to slowly overwhelm Saskatchewan on the scoreboard.
McMullin's big swing from the back row found space inside the Huskie service line to set up set point before an outside attack by Sani gave the home team a commanding 2-0 set lead.
Six consecutive Bear points broke an early deadlock in the final set, Saskatchewan responding with a 6-1 run soon after to cut the deficit back down to one but a combination of attack errors and Sani kills prevented them from tying the score, the Scarborough, Ont. native fittingly scoring the final two points of the match, including the final one into the block and finding Huskie court.
Game two of the weekend series goes Saturday, game time starting at 5:00 p.m. MT.