Cameron Doherty, Huskie Athletics
SASKATOON – A diving dig from Satomi Togawa deep into the fifth and final set gave the visiting University of Regina Cougars the spark they needed to pull off the 3-2 (20-25, 25-16, 23-25, 25-17, 15-11) win over the Saskatchewan Huskies on Jan. 11 inside the PAC.
"It was a good battle back-and-forth, it all comes down to that fifth set and it's not always easy to pull out the victory," said Huskies head coach Mark Dodds.
Ashlee Sandiford led the Cougars with 16 kills, Diana Lumbala added 11 and Togawa ended the game with 43 assists and 21 digs.
While the Huskies were the more efficient offence, finishing the game with a .155 hitting percentage compared to the Cougars .140, it was the service line where the Cougars offence was at its best, with Brooklyn Reynolds leading the charge with seven aces on the night.
"We have to do a better job, it was 14 aces to 4 and that's not a good ratio in terms of how aggressive our serving was, but also how poorly we handled their serve," said Dodds.
Emily Koshinsky had another strong outing, finishing with 16 kills, Taylor Annala was right behind her with 14 and Alexandra Frank had 31 assists and 16 digs in the game.
The Huskies were dominant defensively, holding a blocking advantage of 24-14 and leading the charge in that regard was fifth-year middle Georgia Hurry who put down 11 blocks in the losing effort.
"That was one of the better blocking games we've had and we dug a lot of balls, we just need to do a better job with some decision making and serve receiving," said Dodds.
Saskatchewan came out swinging in the first set, finishing on .267 per cent of their attacks as Annala, Koshinky and first year Olivia Mattern all had four kills in the opening frame. Regina battled back with three kills from Jessica Lerminiaux, but only hit .057 in the first as the Huskies pulled away for the 25-20 win.
The momentum swung back Regina's way in the second set however and an 11-4 run that saw Togawa have two kills and six assists ended the set with Regina rolling to the 25-16 victory.
A back-and-forth third set that saw the lead change hands nine times ended in a Huskies comeback. Trailing 21-19, Saskatchewan reeled off a 6-2 run that was capped by a huge block from Hurry and Annala to put the hosts back in front.
Once again Regina refused to go away however, and the end of the fourth set belonged to Reynolds. Already leading 20-16, the third-year middle had three service aces in a row to remove any doubt from the set and send the game to a fifth and deciding frame.
The teams traded points throughout the fifth set and with the score 12-11 for the Cougars, Togawa dove across the court to deny the Huskies attack and allow her team to win the point. That would prove to be the difference in the game as the Cougars rolled to the 15-11 win.
These two teams will be back in action tomorrow night when the provincial rivals conclude their weekend set in Saskatoon with a game beginning at 6 p.m.