Cameron Doherty, Huskie Athletics
SASKATOON – The University of Saskatchewan Huskies men's volleyball team were efficient in attack as they rolled to a 3-0 (25-19, 25-17, 25-19) victory over the visiting UBC Okanagan Heat on Dec. 1.
"I thought the result was good for us, but a match like this shows us some things we need to work on over the break," said Huskies head coach Nathan Bennett. "The second half of the season is going to be really important for us, so this was a great team win, but also showed us some deficiencies that we can shore up."
In what was the final game before the Canada West conference halts for a winter break, Saskatchewan finished .363 per cent of their attacks while simultaneously holding the Heat to .079. The Huskies also recorded six more blocks and service aces than the visitors.
The win sees Saskatchewan end the first half of their season with a record of 6-6 after they won their final three games of 2018. The team will next be in action for a pair of home exhibition games against Budo, a squad from Japan, on Dec. 29 & 30.
"I think it's important for the guys to have a good feeling heading into the holidays and also we have Budo coming in after the break, so I think that's going to be a real cultural experience for everybody," said Bennett.
Second-year outside-hitter Dylan Mortensen had 11 kills and was in on four blocks to lead the Huskies. Connor Murray had one of his stronger games of the season with ten kills on his 18 swings while CJ Gavlas was named player of the game for his 30 assist, six dig night.
Brennan Goski was the most effective hitter on the Heat, recording 11 kills on the night. Denham O'Reilly had 22 assists and Eli Risso a game-high nine digs.
The first set was close until the middle portion of the frame, with the Huskies holding just a slim 13-11 lead. From there on out it was all the home team however as Saskatchewan jumped out to a 24-17 advantage. Two-straight points from UBCO pulled the Heat close but a service error ended the set with the Huskies up 25-19.
It was early dominance from the Huskies in the second set that made the difference as they jumped out to an 11-4 lead. The Heat attempted to battle back but Luke Wandzura put an end to that with two kills on either side of a solo block to make the score 24-17 and Murray finished things off with an ace.
In the third and final set, the Huskies continued to roll and held the Heat to just seven kills en route to the straight-sets victory.