June 22nd, 2024

Kodiaks volleyball teams topped by Kings and Queens

By Dale Woodard on February 15, 2022.

With the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference playoffs right around the corner, the Lethbridge College Kodiaks women’s volleyball team have served notice they intend to be right in the mix.

Hosting the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association second-ranked Red Deer Polytechnic Queens Saturday afternoon, the Kodiaks forced a fifth set, but fell just short in a 3-2 loss in ACAC play at the Val Matteotti Gymnasium.

But after the Queens grabbed the first two sets and set themselves up for the sweep with 25-22 and 25-18 wins, the Kodiaks stayed alive in the third and fourth sets, posting 26-24 and 25-23 decisions to set the table for the race to 15 points in the fifth set.

But the Queens regained control in the deciding set en route to a 15-10 win that gives them an unblemished 16-0 regular season record, while the Kodiaks now sit at 8-6.

That puts them in a three-way tie for second in the ACAC South with the 8-4 Briercrest Clippers – next weekend’s opponents – and the 8-8 Ambrose College Lions.

Coming off a 3-0 loss to the Clippers Thursday night at the Val Matteotti Gymnasium, Kodiaks head coach Anna Schwark was beaming at the turnaround and pushing the nationally-ranked Queens to a fifth set.

“I’m so happy,” said Schwark. “I hate to admit it, but it made me tear up a little bit talking to the girls after because the pride I feel is so huge right now. They just went in and they played hard. They really wanted to leave it all on the floor today. This is how I knew we could play from the beginning of the season and I’m happy right now is when we’re peaking going into the championship. It gives us a little bit of a confidence boost going into next weekend.”

In the men’s game, the Kodiaks also fell behind 2-0 to the Kings and forced a fourth set with a 25-20 win in the third, but Red Deer closed out the game for a 3-1 win.

“I think you just saw a more consistent team,” said Kodiaks head coach Greg Gibos, whose team is now 9-6 and tied for third in the South with the SAIT Trojans. “I think all night they were a lot more consistent than us, especially block/defend wise. I thought their block/defend was Red Deer, if you had a word to describe it. They always do such a great job of that and we struggled with that. We struggled with their structure.”

“When our service receive breaks down a little bit, it makes playing that team really tough. I could see our confidence wane in those moments.”

In the women’s game, Jamie Brown had 20 kills and 12 digs, while Mack Lewicki had 12 kills and 23 digs.

“I don’t think any team yet has taken them to five,” said Lewicki of Red Deer. “I think we just showed why we’re all here and the passion (we have) for the game. I think that’s what we needed. We needed this so when we go next weekend against Briercrest we have our confidence back.”

Elyse Doble added 16 digs. Eryka Woods and Aideena Wickstrom had seven and three blocked shots, respectively.

The Kodiaks look to avenge their 3-0 loss to the Clippers this weekend when they head to Caronport, Sask. Friday and Saturday.

Briercrest wraps up their regular season Feb. 25 and 26 in Olds versus the Broncos.

“Briercrest is a fantastic program,” said Schwark. “They have a high CCAA ranking. I think this sends a message to everybody else, but to ourselves as well, that we are a competitive program and we can compete with anybody, we’re right there.”

Lewicki noted bringing Saturday’s performance into the Clippers’ gym this weekend.

“I think if we show up with the confidence we did tonight it’ll be a really good game,” she said. “I think they’re going to make us work for it. But I think if they watch this game, they’re going to be nervous.”

In the men’s game, Nolan Moes had 13 kills, eight digs and three service aces.

Michael Kindley put up 10 digs and Jeremiah Bohnert and Jackson Gaehring chipped in with four blocked shots each.

“I think it was cool to come off a big win Thursday and just get another great game and learning opportunity to get better again going into playoffs,” said Kodiaks Nash Shipton, who had one kill and six digs Saturday. “It was definitely a learning curve being able to get that consistency throughout the entire weekend.”

The Kodiaks return to the Val Matteotti Gymnasium Saturday to round out the regular season when the Trojans pay a visit at 6 p.m. in the battle for third place in the ACAC South Division. The Trojans are tied with the Kodiaks at 9-6.

“We have a really good template from Thursday night of where we want to be and (Saturday) we showed moments of that, where we need to be,” said Gibos. “But we also showed moments where we need to improve. From now, moving into next Saturday, we’re looking for that consistency and just looking for that competitive spirit and that confidence when it comes down to that big point.”

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