The UNB Saint John Seawolves took on the Université Sainte-Anne Dragons this past weekend during the Seawolves Think Pink event.
The Seawolves were looking to improve on their record of 5 wins and 6 losses heading into the weekend. The Dragons, with a record of 1 win, 9 losses, were looking for an upset and were fresh off a win during their previous game against the Dalhousie Agricultural Rams.
The first set started with big blocks from UNBSJ power Katherine Houser, giving the Seawolves the lead. However the Dragons found a soft spot, attacking the Seawolves left corner, as well as a weakness in the center court, that Sainte-Anne used that to their advantage.
The first set was filled with lots of back and forth between the two teams, and big serves from Jenna DeGooyer, as well as digs from Emilie Fitzpatrick on the Seawolves side impressed and ultimately lead to the home team taking the first set of the match 25-21.
The Seawolves continued to battle against the Dragons, as first points on the board were awarded to UNBSJ. It wasn’t long before the Dragons were able to gain a lead, and that made for another back and fourth set, with both the Dragons and the Seawolves taking the lead at different times throughout.
Houser, Montana Meyer and DeGooyer all had impressive stints on the court ended up with a lead which the Dragons couldn’t come back from, and the Seawolves took the second set 25-19.
Down 2 sets to 0, the Dragons refocused and came back to the court and appeared to have found their groove as they took an early lead and pressuring the Seawolves off the top.
Houser, showed some life for UNB with a couple big blocks, and the team followed suit with good reaction to plays, including big digs to keep the ball live.
DeGooyer found an empty spot for a big spike, followed by an excellent dig from Fitzpatrick for a shift of momentum, forcing the Dragons to call a time-out at 16-12.
The Dragons showed their aggressive side and managed to hold onto the set despite Houser gaining points for the Seawolves, ending the third 25-16 for the Dragons.
With a renewed energy the Dragons started the fourth set with a small lead, but that was shut down quickly by the Seawolves lead by Houser and Meyer, keeping the teams tied multiple times during the set. Both teams battled hard with the Seawolves looking to finish the game. Going into extra points the Dragons came out on top, taking the fourth set 28-26.
With the fifth and final set, UNBSJ put the first points on the board with a blast from Houser. The Dragons had a flash of hope with a couple of strong serves, however the Seawolves pushed hard putting themselves up 8-3.
Despite calling a timeout at 11 – 4 the Dragons could only muster 7 points, giving up the match point off and excellent hit from DeGooyer. UNBSJ finished off the set 15-7 and took the match..
“In the 5th set it was almost a relief, the first few sets had been a bit shaky, and it was nice to pull ourselves together and come out with the win,”said Jenna DeGooyer of the Seawolves.
“ This season has definitely seen us play up and down throughout the year, so we are always happy with a win,” said Seawolves Head Coach, Kevin Manuel.
“Every coach would love to walk in and win every match 3-0 but that is certainly not an easy task and we had a couple girls not feeling 100% so to have some people come off the bench and make a positive impact is a great sign for our team and will only help us come playoffs.”
The UNBSJ Women are on the road against Mount Saint Vincent on Saturday January 23 and then host Holland College on January 24 in Saint John at 2pm.
<strong><span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>Men’s Volleyball</span></strong>
Coming off news of a national ranking, the Seawolves were ready to hit the court after a victory over the St. Thomas Tommies the previous weekend, which had them in the standings at 4 wins, 1 loss.
The Université Sainte-Anne Dragons were looking to break a losing record, having not won a game before Christmas and suffering a loss to Holland College in their first match of the new year.
The Dragons took an early lead, taking advantage of a couple of misplays on the Seawolves side, which put them up 4-0. However a big hit from the Seawolves, Samuel Irvine, would give the home squad their first point.
The Dragons continued to take advantage of the Seawolves mistakes, maintaining the lead 9-6.
With an unstoppable hit from the Seawolves Herbert Compagner, making up for some errors early on, UNBSJ tied the set, 10-10.
Both teams continued to make good contact with the ball, trading points with each other. A few crucial hits, defensive follow through put the Seawolves up 19 – 13 on service points from Compagner.
The Seawolves gained more momentum with Blair Doull, ACAA athlete of the week, coming through with a big hit that was left unanswered by the Dragons, increasing the lead of the Seawolves.
It was the Seawolves Peter Banks who made an unstoppable spike closing the set 25-14.
The Seawolves stayed strong and took the lead in second set, 4-2 and after a brief battle for the lead the UNBSJ got some help from Luke O’Grady, putting them up 7-4.
Banks and Doull combined for a series of blocks and hits as well as a diving save from Patrick Kendell, which helped the Seawolves maintain and dominate the rest of the set 25-20.
The Dragons came back hungry in the third set, and despite giving up the first point, were able to take advantage of a few errors on the Seawolves side to take a commanding lead, 9-4.
With a substitution in players, for the first time in the game Nick Fraser made an appearance for the Seawolves, making two back-to-back phenomenal hits, but still trailing the Dragons 6 -10.
The Seawolves continued to battle, with a hit from Irvine, and big blocks from Brendan Foster that helped narrow the lead, and ultimately tied the game at 16-16 after a big play from Fraser.
After trading the lead back and forth, Fraser once again put the Seawolves ahead, taking the match after a lift from the Dragons, winning the set 25-23 and sweeping the Dragon’s 3-0.
“I think our execution was pretty consistent,” said Dakota Lutes. “We wanted to come away with a strong win, and we did that.”
Seawolves assistant coach, Devin O’Brien added, “With starting libber Jacob McLean resting his knees for the weekend, it was great to see some other players step up and fill that role and try out new positions.”
The Men’s team plays Holland College back to back this weekend, in Charlottetown on January 23 and then playing them in Saint John on Sunday, January 24. Game time at 4 pm.