Tanner Michalenko, Saskatchewan Sports Information Student Assistant
SASKATOON – The MacEwan University Griffins upset the University of Saskatchewan Huskies in five sets (26-24, 24-26, 23-25, 30-28, 15-11) to earn their first win of the 2017-18 Canada West women's volleyball season Friday night on Ron & Jane Graham Centre Court at the PAC.
Winning the first set but dropping the next two, the Griffins had their backs against the wall in the fourth on two separate game-point opportunities for the Huskies. MacEwan maintained composure to win the fourth 30-28, and their momentum leaked into the fifth where they never surrendered a lead to Saskatchewan, winning 15-11.
The win finally puts MacEwan in the win column, at 1-12. Saskatchewan falls to 7-8.
Second-year Emily Koshinski led the Huskies with a team-high 18 kills, eight digs and an ace at the service. Third-year Carissa Noble wasn't far behind with 16 kills, three digs and a service ace.
For the Griffins, fifth-year Cassidy Kinsella recorded a match-high 19 kills, four digs and two blocks. Third-year Lauren Holmes contributed 12 kills, 15 digs, two blocks and two service aces.
In the first set, back and forth action led to a 21-20 Huskie lead late in the set. Kinsella sparked a 4-0 Griffin run that featured two of her own kills, forcing two separate Huskie timeouts. Despite the Huskie rally to tie the set at 24, a couple of attack errors lost them the set 26-24.
Opening up the second with a 13-5 lead, the Griffins did a good job of protecting the lead all the way until set-point at 24-18. The Huskies would catch fire at that point with an 8-0 run to steal the set 26-24, sparked by three straight kills by fourth-year Ruby Stefan.
The Huskies never gave up the lead in the third, where they found themselves tied at 23 after a service ace from third-year Griffin McKenna Stevenson. After a Huskie timeout, pretty kills from Koshinsky and Noble won the set for Saskatchewan 25-23.
Up 25-24 after numerous lead changes in the fourth, the Huskies failed the capitalize on their first match-point opportunity. An attack error tied the set at 25 before Noble would once again place the Huskies in another opportunity to win the match. Third-year Haley Gilfillan kept the Griffins alive with a kill, and Kinsella put them in set-point before Holmes would win it with a block on Stefan.
The Griffins would jump out to a 7-1 lead in the fifth, a lead too large for Saskatchewan to mount a comeback from despite an impressive run at the service from fourth-year Georgia Hurry, producing three straight aces. The Griffins would hold on for the 15-11 win in the final set.
Saskatchewan and MacEwan will meet again Saturday night at the PAC. First service is at 6 p.m.