The MacEwan women’s volleyball team had their winning streak stopped at three as they split their home opening weekend against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. After winning Friday’s match 3-0 (25-23, 32-30, 25-20) they stumbled Saturday losing 3-0 (23-25, 23-25, 14-25).
Coming into the weekend the Griffins had all the momentum in the world. They started 2-0 on the season after sweeping the opening weekend against the U of C Dinos, which began the 2023-24 season. Griffins head coach Chris Wandler seemed to have the team more confident than ever and it showed during Friday’s match.
The third set belonged to MacEwan and Bereziuk, who kept the pressure on the Huskies and handed the University of Saskatchewan their first loss of the season.
The Griffins fell down 5-1 to the visiting Huskies early, but rallied quickly to take a 10-6 lead thanks to some excellent serves by fourth year outside hitter Mariah Bereziuk, who left the Huskies’ defense confused and frustrated. The attack for the Griffins didn’t end there, as Bereziuk and third-year middle Sarah McGee led the offensive attack with some excellent power to win the first set. However, the second set wouldn’t be as easy, as the Griffins and Huskies fought back and forth. The Griffins had a great defensive effort from third-year setter Payton Shimoda to extend the match into extra scoring, which is where third-year outside Kara Frith secured a big kill to seal the second set for the Griffins. The third set belonged to MacEwan and Bereziuk, who kept the pressure on the Huskies and handed the University of Saskatchewan their first loss of the season.
Going into Saturday the Griffins wanted to capitalize on the momentum they had built up the day prior. However, when the first match started they made a lot of errors. Five of the Huskies’ first ten points were from Griffin errors. Second-year libero Bronwyn Ettinger’s fantastic defense rallied the hometown Griffins, bringing the score to 21-20. The Huskies were able to hold off the rally and take the first set by two points. Bereziuk and Shimoda sparked an early rally for MacEwan in the second set, giving them a 16-15 lead. Once again, unforced errors plagued the Griffins and overshadowed Bereziuk’s brilliant play as they dropped the second set by two points. Miscommunication between the Griffins was prominent in the opening rallies of the third set. The Griffins fought back, but the effort wasn’t enough to overcome their unforced errors as the Huskies swept the Saturday sets.
The MacEwan women’s volleyball team is now 3-1 on the season, which is a great improvement from the 4-20 record from last season. With Chris Wandler as the new head coach, the Griffins seem to have a new life and higher expectations.
The MacEwan women’s volleyball team won’t be back in action in Atkinson Gymnasium until they host the Brandon Bobcats on Nov. 17 and 18.