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Canada West's Athlete of the Week doesn't Joke around at the net.
Ryan Link/the Gauntlet

Lady volleyballers don't suck at all

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In the battle for volleyball greatness Jan. 28-29, the Dinos women's volleyball team faced off with their nemesis the University of Alberta Pandas, to gain supremacy. The two teams have been rivals for what seems like forever, but the weekend showed which team is truly the best as the Dinos came back both nights to win 3-2.

The Dinos are now holding a perfect record for the season with an 18-0. Though some may brush aside such a record in haste, the Dinos are two games away from winning every game this season, something that "definitely hasn't happened since [Head Coach] Kevin [Boyles] has been here," according to Holly Harper.

Friday night at the U of A gym in Edmonton started and ended with the same feel--pure competition. The Pandas came out strong and took the first set 25-18 , but knowing our Dinos don't lose two sets in a row often, fans weren't worrying yet. The second set saw tension build as the Pandas and Dinos fought for each point, with those persistent Pandas taking a 2-0 lead by winning the set 25-23.

Not used to losing for long however, our Dinos forged ahead and showed the Edmonton fans that they wouldn't go down without a fight, winning the third 25-23. Going with the flow, the Dinos continued to put on the pressure and tied up the match, winning the fourth 25-21.

The fifth set was a test of endurance, and the Dinos women proved they've got the drive to go all the way, taking the set 15-10 to win the game 3-2. With such a comeback it was hard to believe the Dinos weren't getting a bit scared after the second, but star-player Joanna Niemczewska says the team kept their cool.

"We weren't nervous about it, we just went out and played as best we could and that worked for us," commented the smiling Niemczewska.

And it definitely worked for her. With 19 kills for the evening, Niemczewska led the pack of high scorers for the Dinos. Also pushing the stats was rookie success Lauren Perry who continued her amazing debut season by racking up 11 kills and 13 digs Friday night. When asked what has been the big contributor in her success this season, Perry succinctly said "I think it's because I just swing at everything... I try and put the ball away as much as I can."

And watching the power in that swing it's no wonder Perry has been a big contributor to the Dinos success this season.

Saturday night was another battle to the death, with the Pandas again taking the lead by winning the first set 26-24. The Dinos weren't about to let those bamboo climbing bears get cocky however, and tied it up by winning the second 25-20. The third set went back to the U of A which they won 25-22 to once more take the lead of the game.

The pressure was on in the fourth, but our Dinos made sure the game would go to five sets by winning the fourth 25-21 to tie it up once more. The fifth set was a short one, with the Alberta fans facing bitter disappointment when the Dinos took the win 15-8 to making the game 3-2 for the second night in a row.

Niemczewska was once more dominating with 15 kills, followed by Reid Brodie and Holly Harper with 14 and 10 kills respectively. Libero Neda Boroumand was also a key asset with 18 digs for the night.

The Dinos face two more games that can stop their perfect season Feb. 4-5 here in Calgary at the Jack Simpson Gymnasium at 8 p.m. both nights.

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