After fast start on Graduate’s night Briercrest goes down in emotional five sets
By Austin Driedger
In what was an emotionally charged match, number three ranked (ACAC standings) SAIT Trojans defeated number two Briercrest Clippers in what was a thrilling 3-2 finish (12-25, 25-22 26-24 21-25, 15-11).
Pablo Acuña was recognized as a graduating player in a ceremony before the game. Since moving from Costa Rica at the beginning of the 2009-10 season to join the Briercrest volleyball team he has had a great impact on the defensive side of the game and has helped provide the backbone for the success that the team has experienced the past four seasons.
SAIT was competing with three ex-Briercrest players; James Dempsey (2007-2011), Scott Lesher (2008-2012), and Zac Ens (2008-2011). The presence of the former players carried heightened excitement, noise and competition from both the players as well as the crowd.
Briercrest was led by Josh Wendel (Caronport, SK) who had eight kills, two blocks and four digs. Also notable play from Kyle Pankratz (Surrey, BC) with nine digs, and game highs of 15 kills, four aces and three blocks and Cody Quiring (Langley, BC) with 13 kills, game high four aces, 16 digs and three blocks.
The Trojans were led by James Dempsey (Lethbridge, AB) with a strong defensive effort of a game high 19 digs. As well as Darcee Froese (Red Deer, AB) with 13 kills, two aces and seven digs, and Scott Lesher (Lacombe, AB) with 12 kills, 13 digs, and 3 blocks.
The first set was an energetic start in which Briercrest aggressively put the pressure upon the Trojans winning the set 25-12.
The second set held the same intensity being tied at 20-20, but Briercrest was not able take it as SAIT won the nail biting set 25-22.
The third set got off to a slow start as Briercerst fell behind 9-3 at the start of the game, but after a time-out, they managed to bring themselves back into the set tying it at a score of 15-15 led with poise by setter and team captain Carter Reimer (Calgary, AB). The set was close, but finished with SAIT winning 26-24.
As the game continued, the electricity rose along with the game. With great play from left side Cody Quiring, Briercrest began the set with a lead of 7-3 and carried it through to force the game into the fifth set with a score of 25-21.
In the fifth, SAIT got off to a lead of 8-5. Briercrest rallied back 9-9, but their efforts could not win the set finishing the game at a score of 15-11 and the 3-2 win for SAIT (12-25, 25-22, 26-24, 21-25, 15-11).
With the quick start to the game Briercrest had the edge in every statistical category except digs where SAIT had the edge 67-65. Briercrest led 49-45 in kills, 11-5 for aces and 12-11 in blocks.
The two teams will have a rematch Saturday January 26 at 3:00pm. If you can't make it to the gym be sure to follow online at SportsCanada.tv or like Briercrest Volleyball on Facebook.