Oh the pain and agony! The evil mutated University of Alberta Pandas have shot the Dinos women's volleyball team through the heart. The visiting Pandas downed our previously undefeated Dinos twice Nov. 18-19.
"We needed to make a lot less attack errors," Head Coach Kevin Boyles admitted of the losses.
Friday's first set went on and on like a Family Guy joke. After leading 16-20, the Dinos let the Pandas back into the game, which then didn't seem to end. The Dinos hugged their last lead at 34-35, dropping the next three points and the set.
According to Boyles, in the end, there were many "strange things" that happened, like balls bouncing off feet and costing the Dinos points, and eventually the match.
Despite the loss, the Dinos did not get discouraged, earning a 12-18 lead in the second set. The Pandas, unfortunately, had ideas of their own. They came out of nowhere, dominating the game at the net and putting together a 13-4 run to take the set.
The Pandas controlled the third set for the most part. But as the fans began to frown and the men prepared to take to the court, the Dinos turned a 21-17 deficit into a 22-25 win.
Alas, it was not meant to be. While the fourth set remained close throughout, the Pandas' fight was tougher and they took the win 25-22.
Holly Harper, Lauren Perry and Laura Spence were the top Dinos, attaining 16, 15 and 12 kills respectively while defending with 11, 20 and 11 respective digs. Julie Young rounded out the offense with 10 kills while Neda Boroumand added 19 digs on the defensive side. Dinos setter Natalie Schwartz kept the ball where it could be spiked with a game-high 56 sets, adding 10 digs.
Saturday's game was not a nicer story. The Pandas comfortably waltzed through the first set, pausing to let the Dinos win four straight points at 24-17. That was unfortunately all the Dinos would get; the set ended in a 25-21 loss.
The final two sets were much closer. The Dinos had leads of 20-22 and 21-23 in the respective sets before losing 25-23 and 26-24.
"We lacked the confidence to do what had worked to get ahead," Schwartz said. "It was a good lesson."
Harper's game-high 11 kills, Schwartz's game-high 37 sets and Raynell Lavertu and Boroumand's game-high 13 and 12 respective digs were sadly not enough. The games were hard-fought and go to prove that in Canada West, one never knows what might happen.
"It's not that the U of A is better than us; we beat ourselves," Harper admitted. "But hopefully it will push us to be more disciplined."
The ladies travel to meet Canada West's newest member, the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack Nov. 26-27. The games should prove easier on our Dinos; TRU is currently sitting at 1-7, second last in Canada West.