WVB: Late rally gives Regina five-set win over Alberta

WVB: Late rally gives Regina five-set win over Alberta

University of Regina Sports Information

REGINA – A rally late in the fifth and deciding set gave the University of Regina's women's volleyball team a hard-fought five-set victory over the No. 4-ranked Alberta Pandas on Friday night in a Canada West match at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport.

After Alberta (9-4) won the third and fourth to respond to the hometown Cougars taking the opening two sets, the Pandas carried that momentum into the fifth. They led by as many as four points in the final set and were up 9-6 after a Julia Zonneveld kill following the side switch, but it was all Regina after that.

After that Zonneveld kill, the Cougars (6-7) took nine of the next 11 points including each of the final four points of the match with Satomi Togawa serving. Togawa's ace put the Cougars up by two, and Diana Lumbala's huge solo block on a Zonneveld attack from the left side gave the home side match point. Ashlee Sandiford capped the big run with an exclamation point, hammering home her 17th kill of the match with a big swing from the left side.

"I was very happy with our team effort today and our ability to find a way to win the match," Cougars head coach Melanie Sanford said. "Alberta is a tough team to play against and finding solutions took us a while after we dropped the third and the fourth. I was proud of the way we were able to recover in the fifth set."

Togawa had a huge night for the Cougars in the win, piling up 46 assists and leading all players with a career-high 27 digs, the most ever recorded by a U of R setter in a single Canada West match. The third-year setter also added five kills, three aces, and a block as she was all over the scoresheet in the win.

Sandiford and Taylor Ungar also put up gaudy defensive numbers for the U of R. Sandiford had 21 digs to go along with her 17 kills, while Ungar added 20 digs as she continues to reel in former Alberta libero Jessie Niles for the Canada West all-time lead in that category. Jessica Lerminiaux added 11 kills and 11 digs for the Cougars, while Emma Matheson had eight kills and four blocks and Brooklyn Reynolds chipped in with seven kills and tied for the match lead with six blocks.

Alberta's Kory White had 62 attacks and finished with 19 kills and 15 digs, while Zonneveld racked up 15 kills and a team-leading 21 digs. Erin Corbett added 10 kills and 11 digs, with Mariah Walsh finishing with 48 assists and nine digs and Jenae Eisler ending up with 18 digs.

The two teams will meet again on Saturday night at the CKHS. First serve is again scheduled for 7:00.

NOTES: Ungar now has 1229 career digs and needs 89 more to surpass Niles for the Canada West all-time lead ... including tonight's match, last week's non-conference match at the New Year's Classic in Edmonton, and a non-conference match back in September at the University of Regina Invitational, all three matches between Alberta and Regina have gone the maximum five sets ... the previous U of R record for digs by a setter in a Canada West match was 21, also held by Togawa.