Cameron Doherty, Huskie Athletics
SASKATOON – For the second night in a row the University of Saskatchewan Huskies men's volleyball team was too much for the Mount Royal Cougars to handle in a 3-1 (19-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-16) victory inside the PAC on February 16.
With the win in their regular season finale, the Huskies at 12-10 have assured themselves of fifth place in the Canada West standings. Their opponent in the conference quarter-final next week will be a familiar one, these very same Cougars who will host the series as the four seed.
"Their team is going to look a lot different next weekend but they are going to be mad and we are going to be hungry so it should be a really good fight in Calgary," said Huskies head coach Nathan Bennett.
Despite the loss an important piece of conference history was made for the Cougars, as outside hitter Tyler Schmidt moved into first on the all-time Canada West career points and kills list. Schmidt ends his regular season career with 1,482 kills, six more than former member of the Thompson Rivers WolfPack Brad Gunter who previously held the record.
"It's a fantastic accomplishment for him," said Cougars head coach Shawn Sky. "Obviously with any personal accomplishment you want a team accomplishment to go along with that as well and I have no doubt that that's where Tyler will be, but it's fantastic what kind of person he is and what he does for us."
Saskatchewan was much more efficient in attack on the night, overcoming a slow start to put down .360 per cent of their swings compared to a .194 clip from Mount Royal.
Fittingly, the Huskies were led on senior night by their lone fifth-year player, as Colin Fraser recorded 16 kills in the game. Fraser's outstanding five years with the Huskies moved him well up on the all-time Huskie career kills list, with his mark of 984 moving him past current Huskies women's coach Mark Dodds for fouth in program history.
"I can talk about Colin Fraser forever, he's been a special player for the program, he's a special athlete," said Bennett. "He has worked hard on his craft, a player like him doesn't just show up and become that good, he has put in the hours and he's reaping the rewards now."
Dylan Mortensen and Daulton Sinoski joined Fraser with double-digit kills, registering 10 apiece.
Schmidt was on fire for the Cougars, finishing with 20 kills while Trent Mounter was good on 15 of his 35 swings in the game.
A slow start for the Huskies saw the Cougars take the first set but from then out it was all Saskatchewan as the team reeled off three-straight set victories, with the victory secured thanks to a kill from Fraser on what was most likely his final touch of the ball on home court.
"It was an emotional weekend for Colin especially, I thought we struggled a little bit in the first set with managing our nerves but I thought we settled down pretty good and we did a good job," said Bennett.
These two teams will now get a little bit of time to regroup before their quarter-final series that is slated to get underway on Friday, February 22 at 8:00 p.m CST. That action can be watched live on canadawest.tv