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Saskatchewan wins five-set thriller over Tigers

Photo by Carter Hutton
Photo by Carter Hutton

Recap by: Kirk Jessome

(Halifax, NS) – In the second match in as many days, the Dalhousie Tigers took on the Saskatchewan Huskies in pre-season action. After getting off to a slow start, dropping the first two sets, the Tigers were able to battle back to force a fifth. In the end, it wasn't enough, as the Huskies held on to secure a 3-2 victory.

Saskatchewan got off to a hot start with good serving in the first set, which allowed them to jump to an early 13-5 lead. The Huskies were led by a hard serving Matthew Meyer (Prince Albert, SK) who had three kills early.

The Tigers fought to keep the set within reach, with points coming from blocks and strong defensive plays, but it wasn't enough as the Huskies took the first set 25-16. The biggest difference between the teams early was accuracy, as Saskatchewan's first set hit percentage was almost double that of the Tigers.

The second set opened with strong attacks coming from both sides. Matthew Donovan (London, ON) had two early kills for the Tigers, but it was hard to string together points. The Combination of back-to-back aces from the Huskies, Meyer, and errors committed by the Tigers, the score was 16-12 for Saskatchewan at the technical timeout.

Adam Spragg (Gilford, ON) was doing his job as he assisted on four straight kills from four different attackers for the Tigers to bring them within three points, but it was too little, too late as the Huskies took the second set 25-20.

The Tigers came out hard to start the third set, jumping to an early 8-6 lead, but once again, the Tigers couldn't manage to string together points. A four-point swing, led by back-to-back aces from CJ Galvas (Saskatoon, SK), allowed the Huskies to take a 10-8 lead.

Strong defensive play in the middle of the set propelled the Tigers to their first lead at a technical break, with a very close 16-15 score. A combination of errors from the Huskies saw the Tigers extend their lead in the set as it closed out with a fantastic rally, with beautiful digs from first-year libero, Mathieu Lavoie (Winnipeg, MB).

The third set was secured by the Tigers with a score of 25-21 on Matthew Donovan's sixth kill of the match. 

The Tigers came out hot offensively to start the fourth set with kills from Donovan and Kobe Shannon (Halifax, NS) leading to a 11-5 start. The Huskies didn't go away early in the set, keeping the score close with Meyer continuing to add to his total kills.

The Tigers seemed to find an offensive groove that was missing from the first two sets, and it allowed them to take a 16-11 lead into the break.

Both teams continued to trade kills, but the Huskies battled back into the set late as they tied it up at 23-23. The set was ultimately determined on two errors coming from the Huskies, as the Tigers tied the match up at two sets apiece.

Both teams struggled to find their offensive stride at the start of the final set as more offensive errors than kills were traded back and forth. The match looked like it was slipping away for the Tigers as they were down 14-10, but a big kill by Donovan and an error from the Huskies forced them to call a timeout.

The strategy worked for them as the Huskies clinched the match with Matthew Meyer's game-high 22nd kill, leading the Huskies to a 15-12 final set. CJ Galvas was also a major contributor to the win for the Huskies with 47 assists and 2 aces.

The Tigers were led by Matthew Donovan with 14 kills, and Adam Spragg with 26 assists.

The teams will face off in the rubber match again tomorrow at 5:00PM at the Dalplex.