MacEwan Athletics and TRU Athletics
KAMLOOPS, B.C. – Fresh off tying the match with a 25-23 fourth-set win, the MacEwan Griffins had all the momentum.
But darned if it isn't the most fleeting thing, especially on a volleyball court.
Thompson Rivers University took the first seven points of the fifth-and-deciding set and rode an insurmountable lead to a 3-2 match victory (29-27, 25-23, 14-25, 23-25, 15-7) on Saturday night that results in a weekend split of the match between the Canada West women's volleyball rivals.
"They got a couple good serves right off the bat and it just escalated from there," said MacEwan head coach Ken Briggs. "The whole night was kind of crazy. We could have just as easily walked out of here with another 3-0 win. That 29-27 game, we must have had about five chances to win it."
The Griffins actually had three set points in that marathon opener, but TRU never yielded the point, tying it 27-27 and then winning the next two points off an Olga Savenchuk kill and an Abby Spratt service ace.
In the second set, MacEwan led early and built a 23-17 lead before yielding a miracle comeback, the likes of which you almost never see in volleyball as TRU went on an 8-0 run to steal the set.
"They made a couple of nice little adjustments," said Briggs. "It was one of those emotion games where they came out really fired up and got a lot of good breaks. Everything seemed to be going for them. We were still in it all the way and then it kept going on and on. It was like we were waiting to shoot ourselves in the foot."
The third set began like the second began close, but MacEwan took a 16-10 lead into the tech time out before propelling themselves to an easy 11-point win.
In the fourth set, the Griffins again built a 16-10 lead going into the technical timeout, but needed three tries with set point to put it away, finally doing so when Gabrielle Podolski hit her serve long.
Then the fateful fifth set, which the Griffins were never in.
"It was the same as last night, only they finished better than we did," said Briggs. "We were in control from the beginning of the game, we just messed up.
"We did a really nice job on No. 12 (Savenchuk) again. Then their No. 4 (Kendra Finch) just took off – 22 kills, no errors. She was amazing. Nothing too booming, just off hands and nice shots.
"They had one girl who rose to the occasion and we had a couple passengers tonight."
Haley Gilfillan led the Griffins with 15 kills, Janna Ogle had 14 kills and 11 digs, and McKenna Stevenson produced 13 kills and a game-high five service aces. Setter Kylie Schubert recorded 46 assists, which puts her in the top-10 for most in a game in MacEwan's Canada West history.
"Overall, we had a really balanced attack. Janna had a very good game and McKenna was solid again with her kills in the middle, but it was a little tougher sledding tonight," said Briggs. "Credit to them. They really wanted it more than we did."
With the result, MacEwan falls back to .500 at 5-5 and sits tied for fifth in the conference, while TRU improves to 4-6 and is tied for seventh.