The background noise of an electric crowd set the stage for the ACAA Women’s Volleyball Championship Finals hosted at Mount Alison University in Sackville, N.B. early Sunday afternoon.
The UNB Saint John Seawolves played the first-place Mount Saint Vincent University Mystics to determine who would represent Atlantic Canada at the 2014 CCAA National Championships in Toronto, O.N.
From the first serve, the Seawolves were behind in the first set and never took the lead over the Mystics for the remainder of the set.
Alison Stymiest and Katherine Houser once again had huge kills, coupled with an incredible dig by libero Emily Fitzpatrick near the end of the set.
Despite losing the first set 25-17, the Seawolves defiantly sprung back at the Mystics.
Keeping level with the Halifax team at the beginning, the Seawolves exploded to take a huge and defining lead over their opponents mid-set.
Mystics coach Derrick Brooks called a timely time out with the Seawolves leading 19-12 that gave life back to his team.
Emily Fitzpatrick was a cornerstone of defense during the Mystics’ rebuttal that saw them claw back to a three point deficit, forcing the Seawolves to call a time out of their own at 21-18.
The Mystics entirely erased their deficit, coming back to literally steal the lead from the Seawolves and proceeded to win their second straight set, 25-22.
Facing elimination and with their season on the line, the Seawolves mustered many spectacular moments in the third set and led the Mystics until near the end.
Perhaps the most stellar of moments was a sisterly combo that came at a crucial time of the game for the Seawolves.
After a hard hit by a Mystics attacker, Emily Fitzpatrick was able to pass the ball from a seemingly lost point, and on the third touch, her sister, Megan Fitzpatrick smacked the volleyball down on the Mystics side for a highlight reel kill.
But MSVU was too good on the ball and gave the Seawolves hardly any wiggle room. The Baron turning point of the game came when the Mystics called a time out with the Seawolves leading 21-17.
Re-energized with confidence, the Mystics were steadfast in their comeback and took the late lead once again at 23-22.
Mechanically, the Mystics took the game from here and won the third set 25-23. The MSVU Mystics will now represent the ACAA Conference at the National Championships.
Five-year Seawolves veterans Veronique Bastarache and Megan Fitzpatrick played their final game as Seawolves players.
Seawolves coach Kevin Manual said that Veronique and Megan are “the reason we went from finishing fifth three years in a row, to playing in the finals this year.”
Though an established team in the ACAA in 2013-14, Coach Manual had the highest of praise for these two women who “stuck around though transition and turmoil, and through last year’s rebuild; it wasn’t easy.”
Megan and Veronique are “great leaders on and off the court. I couldn’t have asked anything more from the two of them,” said Coach Manual.
Today’s game concludes The Baron’s coverage of Seawolves volleyball for the season. Stay tuned for extensive coverage of the Seawolves who will be competing at the ACAA Basketball Championships next weekend.