(By University of Regina Sports Information)
REGINA – Satomi Togawa's big double-double led the University of Regina's women's volleyball team to a straight-sets victory over Thompson Rivers on Friday night in a Canada West match at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport.
While the match finished in the minimum three sets, the first two featured multiple lead changes and needed to go beyond 25 points before finally being settled. The Cougars took the first set by a 27-25 count, the second by a 28-26 margin, and clinched the match with a 25-18 win in the third.
"We were able to implement our game plan and I'm happy with the performances we got at several positions tonight," Cougars head coach Melanie Sanford said. "Thompson Rivers is an extremely talented team, and we'll need to fully reset and come back to the gym tomorrow with a different mindset."
Togawa was brilliant for the Cougars, finishing with 39 assists and a team-leading 13 digs to go along with a pair of kills and an ace. Ashlee Sandiford was again her favourite target, as the fifth-year outside hitter finished with a match-high 14 kills and added 10 digs for her third double-double in as many home matches this season.
Both of the U of R's two middles finished with spectacular numbers in the win. Emma Matheson matched her career high with nine kills and had a .533 hitting percentage, while Brooklyn Reynolds had seven kills and hit .500 for the Cougars. Matheson had three blocks, all of the solo variety, while Reynolds piled up four assisted blocks.
Olga Savenchuk had a team-leading 12 kills and hit .300 for TRU while also compiling eight digs, four blocks, and a match-high three aces. Kendra Finch had nine kills and a match-leading 16 digs for the WolfPack, who fall to 1-4 on the season with the loss.
The first set looked as though the Cougars would roll to an easy win after an extended serving run by Diana Lumbala helped them build up a 16-9 lead at the technical timeout, but Thompson Rivers came out flying after the break. The WolfPack took seven of the next eight points and 10 of the next 13 to draw level at 19-19. TRU had a pair of set points but the Cougars were able to escape them with kills by Sandiford and Lumbala. After Lumbala's late kill tied the set up at 25-25, Jessica Lerminiaux and Lumbala added kills on back-to-back points to give the Cougars a 27-25 win.
The second set was another tight one with six lead changes and 11 tie scores. TRU's five straight points around the technical timeout put the WolfPack up 18-14 and they also had a four-point lead at 21-17, but the Cougars stormed back with six of the next seven points to go up by one. Sandiford again got the Cougars out of trouble with a kill on TRU's set point at 25-24, and the U of R finally converted their third set point with a big solo stuff by Matheson to give them a 28-26 lead and a commanding two-set lead in the match.
It was a different script in the third, with the Cougars jumping out to a 16-6 lead at the technical timeout and cruising to a 25-18 win. They hit .400 as a team in the third, with Reynolds collecting five of her seven kills in the final set alone.
The Cougars (3-4) will go for the weekend sweep over Thompson Rivers on Saturday night at the CKHS. First serve is again scheduled for 7:00.