Griffins let another victory slip through their fingers late in 3-2 loss at Saskatchewan

The MacEwan Griffins suffered another tough 3-2 loss in a match they were leading in after late passing breakdowns proved costly (Chris Piggott photo).
The MacEwan Griffins suffered another tough 3-2 loss in a match they were leading in after late passing breakdowns proved costly (Chris Piggott photo).

MacEwan Athletics and Huskies Athletics

SASKATOON – The heartbreak continues for the MacEwan Griffins women's volleyball team, which managed to see another victory slip through their grasp late in a match.

A night after their first win of the Canada West season at the Saskatchewan Huskies, they fell 3-2 (20-25, 25-17, 26-28, 25-16, 15-8) in the rematch on Saturday.

"Our passing let us down," said head coach Ken Briggs. "Midway through the fourth set, we stopped passing."

Which is bizarre because early in the match, the Griffins seemed to be on their way to a decisive win over the Huskies – so dominant were they in the opening set as they carried over the momentum from Friday. They had a 10-2 run in the middle of it and ended the set on a service ace from Haley Gilfillan.

But they inexplicably shot themselves in the foot with multiple errors early in the second set and allowed Saskatchewan to wrest away the momentum. The Huskies jumped out to an 11-6 lead and never looked back.

"That game could have been 3-0 for us right away, but a few subtle little things and the momentum shifted," said Briggs. "We got it back and were up 2-1. Then things just … I don't know.

"We've got to learn how to play when we're winning."

In the third, the Huskies started strong with an early 9-4 lead. The lead was short-lived. MacEwan's 8-2 run tied things at 13. From there, it was tough sledding for both teams trying to separate themselves. Third-year Hailey Cornelis' service ace put the Griffins in match-point opportunity at 26-25. The Huskies would stay alive grabbing the next point but dropping the next two, losing 28-26.

 The fourth was all Saskatchewan. Never surrendering the lead throughout the set, third-year Taylor Annala capped it off with three of the last four points, including a service ace to seal the win for the Huskies, 25-16.

 Annala kept her momentum going into the final set, providing back-to-back kills as part of a 6-2 opening lead to force a MacEwan timeout. After the timeout, the Griffins would narrow the lead to 8-7, but that is as close as they came. The Huskies would go on a 7-1 run to secure the match victory.

"It snowballed a little bit in the fourth and fifth set," said Briggs. "Bottom line, we stopped passing. Once we stop passing, it's really hard to run an offence and that let us down."

The win moves Saskatchewan back to .500 at 8-8, while MacEwan drops to 1-13.

Emily Koshinsky recorded a match-high 19 kills and a team-high 15 digs for the Huskies, while Regan Wiebe chipped in another 17 kills and 12 digs.

 For MacEwan, Cassidy Kinsella had 14 kills and six digs, while McKenna Stevenson contributed 12 kills.

The Huskies will travel to Thompson Rivers University to take on the WolfPack next weekend. The Griffins will head home to host the Mount Royal University Cougars.