MacEwan Athletics and Alberta Athletics
EDMONTON – Carrying over some momentum from two hard-fought sets against the Pandas on Saturday, the MacEwan Griffins women's volleyball team came as close as they ever have to knocking off their cross-town rival on Sunday night.
Pushing the defending USPORTS silver medalists to the limit, the Griffins fell 3-2 (25-22, 20-25, 25-22, 27-29, 15-8).
"We were in control for the first four sets," said MacEwan head coach Ken Briggs. "We should have won in four. It was ours. From Minute 1, I felt like we were in control."
The Griffins held a lead of as much as seven in the opening set, but were unable to close it out. A late push by Alberta, as well as some attacking errors by the Griffins, gave the first set to the Pandas.
The back-and-forth marathon match continued into the third, with neither team separating themselves from the other. Erin Corbett and Kory White added another four kills each in the third for Alberta, while the Griffins were led by another five kills from McKenna Stevenson, who finished the match with 13.
The Pandas gained a late lead, eventually holding on for a 25-22 third-set win.
The fourth set was easily the closest of the match, with the Griffins escaping with a hard-fought 29-27 win. Thanks to an improved attack percentage, as well as 10 attack errors from the hosts, the Griffins were able to erase three Pandas match points to take the highly-entertaining fourth.
The Pandas depth and experience, however, finally came through in the fifth, as they cruised to a 15-8 win.
"We learned a ton in a short period of time, how to play with a big lead, how to come from behind, how to battle back and forth point by point," said Briggs. "It was a really good learning lesson. Now we've just got to take that next step – how you finish when you're in that situation."
Briggs noted his middles Stevenson and Haley Gilfillan were dominant in the match. Both attached at .417 efficiency with 13 and 7 kills, respectively. Gilfillan added five blocks, while Stevenson had three.
"Our two middles were fantastic – McKenna and Haley were great," he said. "Cassidy's always solid, but this is probably the most spread our contributions have been, for sure. Our middles really dominated against two very experienced middles."
The Griffins (0-4) head into a bye weekend before hosting UBC-Okanagan (3-1) on Nov. 10-11.