Tanner Michalenko, Saskatchewan Sports Information Student Assistant
SASKATOON – The University of Saskatchewan Huskies made quick work of the Trinity Western University Spartans Saturday evening at the PAC, winning in straight sets (25-20, 25-23, 25-22) to earn their first victory of the 2017-18 Canada West women's volleyball season.
Both teams sit at 1-1 on the season after splitting the opening series.
Third-year Taylor Annala was shining for the Huskies, recording a game-high 11 kills and nine digs. Mackenzie Pek also provided a game-high 29 assists. On the other side, Hilary Howe was the Spartan standout with six kills and four digs.
In the first set, the Huskies broke the 12-12 tie with a massive 12-2 run that featured five Pek assists for her outsider hitters in fourth-year Regan Wiebe and third-year Carissa Noble. The Spartans would come back with a run of their own. A 6-1 down the stretch narrowed the Huskie lead to three before fourth-year Ruby Stefan finished things off with a kill followed by a big block to win the first set for the Huskies, 25-23.
The Huskies momentum spilt into the second set, building a commanding 10-3 lead before Trinity Western would call its first timeout to minimize the damage. The Spartan timeout seemed to rally the troops, flipping the script on the Huskies with a fast 6-0 run that forced Huskies head coach Mark Dodds to call a timeout.
After the Huskie timeout, both teams would trade points back and forth until the Spartans would earn a 22-20 advantage late in the set. The Huskies would answer the challenge and close the set on a 5-1 run, taking it 25-23.
In the final set, the Huskies opened on a 7-0 run to open the set. But the Spartans would quickly erase it. Tied 12-12 after a Spartan rally to come back, Noble delivered with back-to-back aces during a Huskie run that would build their lead to 20-14. That proved to be enough room to close out the match, as the Huskies took the third set 25-23.
The Huskies will travel to Brandon to take on the Bobcats next weekend, while Trinity Western returns home to host the UBC Okanagan Heat.