By Woodard, Dale on January 31, 2020.
The Lethbridge College Kodiaks women’s volleyball teams opened up some leads, but the Ambrose Lions clawed back.
The Kodiaks were topped the three close sets (25-22, 25-21, 25-23) by the Lions in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference play Thursday night at the Val Matteotti Gymnasium.
Lethbridge held leads in each of the sets, including blazing out to an 8-1 lead to start the third set, but the visitors battled back each time late in the sets to post the sweep that snaps the Kodiaks two-game winning streak and puts them at 4-13. The Lions improve to 11-8 and remain in third in ACAC South, while the Kodiaks remain in sixth.
Playing in front of sizable crowd as part of the RBC Make Some Noise for Mental Health initiative that started earlier in the day, Kodiaks head coach Anna Schwark felt the energy was lacking in Thursday night’s game as the two teams get ready for the rematch tonight in Calgary.
“I think it was just really flat today,” said Schwark. “It was kind of how we ended practice yesterday, we weren’t really happy with it. We really talked before the match about coming out with that energy and making sure it was at a level we could maintain. The start of every set was great, I think that’s something every team struggles with. But it was just something we couldn’t maintain and honestly, we don’t know why. Skill-wise we were with them and played just as well as they did. I think it was that mental barrier of not getting excited and not celebrating the little things.”
As they’ve done all year, the duo of Jamie Brown and Mack Lewicki led the Kodiaks at the net with 11 kills each. They each added six digs in the win.
First-year libero Sarah Hazen added 11 digs for Player of the Game honours.
“We’re practising super-hard and we’re focusing on the main goal,” said Hazen. “But in the end we’re just trying to have fun and be with each other, which is the important thing.”
The Lions can mathematically eliminate the Kodiaks from the post-season with a win tonight. Ambrose sits 14 points up on Lethbridge.
The Medicine Hat Rattlers (8-10) are fourth in the ACAC South Division, but get an automatic berth into provincials as hosts.
“We’re always looking to the next day,” said Schwark. “Our end goal is just getting better every single day. (Tonight) I think we can and should expect more from ourselves. I think we fell short especially coming off a great weekend against Olds. We battled and that was a huge team effort. It’s just keeping that positivity and trying to carry the momentum we created today over to tomorrow.
“I think it’s just being confident in our serve pass game.
We missed a lot of serves today. That’s definitely something we need to make sure is on par tomorrow.”
In the men’s game the Kodiaks improved to 14-3 thanks to a 3-0 sweep (25-20, 25-21, 25-21) sweep of the Lions.
Michael Hummel had nine kills and Nolan Moes and Carter Hansen added five each.
Zach Wikenheiser has seven digs in the win.
Tonight’s games in Calgary are 6 p.m. for the women’s game and 8 p.m. for the men
The Lethbridge Volleyball Club presented their “LVC Night at the Kodiaks” awards following the women’s game Thursday night.
On the mens’ side, Jens Watt was named the LVC Players’ Benchy Most Valuable Graduate, while Kodiak Nash Shipton earned the LVC Volleyball Stuff Leadership Award.
Shipton, Jack Gaehring, Connor Hellofs and James Marriner won the LVC Lethbridge College Scholarship and Chris Byam took home the LVC Special Recognition Award.
On the women’s side, Kodiak Reegan Molenaar won a trio of awards, earning the LVC Players’ Bench Most Valuable Graduate Award, the LVC Volleyball Stuff Leadership Award and the LVC Lethbridge College Scholarship.
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