Teams sweep Rustlers

by | Feb 5, 2015 | Sports, Uncategorized

This weekend was a great one for NAIT volleyball fans as the Ooks earned four wins against Lakeland. The women won 3-2 and 3-0 over the Rustlers (first in the North coming into the weekend) while the men stomped on Lakeland 3-0 and 3-0. The sweep improves the women to 11-8, three wins ahead of fifth place Augustana and three wins back of first. The men are now 15-3, in a tie for the league lead after Keyano upset Augustana two nights in a row.

The ladies opened Friday night’s match energized, winning a tight first set 25-23 and a less tight second set 25-18. However, Lakeland took the next two sets by 26-24, fighting off eight matches points in the process. In the tiebreaking fifth set, a Shaynah Godlien service ace won NAIT the match on the Ooks’ 12th match point, 16-14. Godlein had a match high 18 kills while Candice Hughes posted a match high 25 digs, along with 11 kills to win player of the game. Head coach Benj Heinrichs praised his team’s ability to refocus during those match points.

“We had some good swings in those moments, they got some digs and then we got running around a little bit around watching the ball. But I’m really proud of them because they kept fighting each point and that was the biggest takeaway.”

Saturday night didn’t require a tiebreaker, as the Ooks suffocated the home team all night. The beating increased each set as the scores were 25-21, 25-20 and 25-14. Setter Maegan Kuyzk won the POG.

“We were really happy with our ability to stay focused and play at a consistent level,” said Heinrichs. “As a result, we didn’t let Lakeland get into the match.”

Friday the guys got off to a rough start, dropping four straight points. However, NAIT controlled the rest of the match, flustering the Rustlers with tough serving and rock-solid blocking. Set scores were 25-12, 25-20 and 25-16. Bryce Cardinal won player of the match, recording eight kills, six digs and five aces; a few of those coming on an 11-point serving run.

“I think it was serve pressure that really made the difference,” said head coach Doug Anton, “We knew if we applied constant serving pressure Lakeland would eventually crack.”

Like the women’s match, game two in Lakeland didn’t last long, as the Ooks steadily chipped away at the Rustlers. Set scores were 25-21, 25-19 and 25-23. Former Rustler Sean Renaud won POG, expertly quarterbacking the NAIT offence. Coach Anton pointed to balanced production offensively as key.

“Our production from our middle attackers was much better and we relied less on our left side attackers than we typically do. This shows our offence is evolving and becoming more multi-dimensional.”

This weekend, the Ooks travel north to Fort McMurray to take on the Keyano Huskies. Both Huskies squads are currently outside the playoff picture but closed the gap with wins over Augustana and have formidable offensive players.

“We are recommitted to trying to improve every day and each match and we brought that attitude into this weekend,” said Anton.
“I don’t think we are quite firing on all cylinders. We have to do a bit better job free-ball passing and down-ball scenarios to create more opportunities on offence. However, we’re serving tough, we are blocking quite well and I think our middle attack is improving. I don’t think we are far from where we want to be, but we still have some work to do to get there.”

The ladies kick things off at six Friday evening and are back for match two at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The men follow shortly after the women’s match both days.

View these matches online through SportsCanada.TV or the link on the NAIT Ooks website.

Sports Editor

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