Fire alarm throws wrench in Griffins' continuity during 3-1 loss to Dinos

Cassidy Kinsella had a game-high 17 kills for the Griffins in a 3-1 loss at Calgary on Saturday night, moving her into second place on the Canada West career list (Chris Piggott photo).
Cassidy Kinsella had a game-high 17 kills for the Griffins in a 3-1 loss at Calgary on Saturday night, moving her into second place on the Canada West career list (Chris Piggott photo).

MacEwan Athletics and Dinos Athletics

CALGARY – Of all the things that can happen during a university athletic contest, the fire alarm went off in the middle of the third set between the host Calgary Dinos and MacEwan Griffins women's volleyball teams on Saturday.

As hundreds filed out of the gym during the resulting 30-minute delay, any momentum the Griffins had going seemed to be lost. The Dinos controlled after that and won 3-1 (25-22, 24-26, 25-21, 25-8) to complete a weekend sweep of the visitors.

"It was 12-9 and we had to have another warm-up and start all over," said MacEwan head coach Ken Briggs. "It was brutal.

"(We lost) a little bit, for sure, because we just never bounced back after that.

"Again, it was just the same as yesterday, the first three sets we played them toe to toe – we played really, really well."

Not bad for the 2-20 Griffins against the 19-3 Dinos, who furthered their hold on top spot in Canada West with their seventh win in a row.

"We played well this weekend, we really did," said Briggs, whose squad also took the Dinos to four on Friday. "They're first place for a reason, but we certainly gave them a push and a scare and lost in four. Take out the fourth set and it was good."

Cassidy Kinsella, who led the Griffins with a match-high 17 kills and 17.5 points, moved into second on the Canada West career list for kills with 1260, passing former Alberta Panda Tawana Wardlaw (1254). She's unlikely to catch former Panda Meg Casault for top spot, trailing by 61 with two games left.

As for the career points list, Kinsella now has 1442 points, which is 30.5 back of former Trinity Western Spartan Sophie Carpentier for second all-time.

"Cass had another strong game," said Briggs.

"I thought Karly Edgar (15 digs) really picked it up. Especially when we were scrambling after the break, she really bore down and took control of the back row, so that was nice. Claire (McLoughlin) set another solid game (33 assists), so it was nice to see.

"Sad again, but overall another good game."

The Dinos were off to a strong start after a 4-0 run in the first set; however, the Griffins fought back, and consecutive kills by Kinsella equalized the score at 11-11. The teams traded points for the next bit, matching again at 15-15, but it was Calgary that sealed the set off a pair of kills from Amber Adolf and Jaylynn Moffatt, as well as a service ace by Laura McManes. The set closed 25-22.

After trading points early in the second set, Kinsella sparked a 5-0 run for MacEwan and 12-6 lead, including two kills by the outside hitter and a service ace by McLoughlin. The Dinos fought back, tying the score at 20-20 and 24-24, but a kill by Kate Rozendaal and an attack error by Kate Pexman gave the Griffins the set 26-24.

Though the first few points of the third set were neck and neck between the Dinos and the Griffins, it was attack errors by the visiting team that gave Calgary 5-3 advantage, on which the Dinos capitalized to build a 12-9 lead. After returning from the enforced evacuation, Calgary stayed out front, never allowing MacEwan to come closer than two back. Taking advantage of an attack error, the Dinos took the set 25-21.

The Dinos anchored an impressive 12-2 lead in the fourth set, capitalizing off a 7-0 run at the start of play. The closest the Griffins could come throughout the set was five, and Calgary was able to quickly pull away, maintaining the advantage. Pexman, Adolf and Beth Vinnell all tallied several kills in the final stretch, but it was a service error by McKenna Stevenson that clinched the set, 25-8.

"Volleyball is such a mental game; it's always a challenge for us to stay composed, and we were on a roller coaster today," Calgary head coach Natalie Gurnsey told Dinos Communications. "I think the fire alarm was actually an amazing reset for us – we were able to spend time recharging and emotionally preparing ourselves to compete by letting go of whatever we liked or didn't like in our play thus far. We talked about playing confidently, like we are 18-3.

"That being said, I think we came back into third playing like we wanted to win, and were able to play the fourth set in a way that celebrates the achievements of our seniors."

Next week, Calgary will host the Mount Royal Cougars Thursday in the front end of a season-ending home-and-home series, while the Griffins will return to Edmonton to host the Winnipeg Wesmen on Friday (6 p.m.) and Saturday (5 p.m., both games Atkinson Gym). The Saturday contest is MacEwan's Senior Night celebration.