The University of New Brunswick Saint John Seawolves wrapped up their fourth annual Think Pink weekend with two wins at the G. Forbes Elliot Athletics Centre.
The goal of the weekend is to raise funds and awareness for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. With a sea of pink colouring the gym, the women’s volleyball team took part in two games against the Mount Allison University Mounties and the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus Rams.
In addition to the games, Seawolves’ rookie middle, Dayna Alexander, donated twelve inches of her hair to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to children suffering from long-term medical hair loss. Head coach, Lauren Hale-Miller, did the honour and snipped Alexander’s long hair in front of a cheering crowd.
Saturday’s match started the weekend off with a victory for the Seawolves as they defeated the third place Mounties in four sets.
The two teams battled during the first set and kept the score close at 20-20. Two Mount Allison errors, a kill from Montanna Meyer, a service ace from Jenna DeGooyer, and a tip from Taylor McGrattan allowed the Seawolves to break away and claim the first set, 25-21.
Having previously lost to the Mounties in their only previous match of the season, the Seawolves were determined to not let this one slip away.
UNB Saint John was off to a reluctant start in the second set – however, a big kill from outside hitter Taneesha Dalling got the Seawolves on the board. Trailing 8-2, UNB Saint John took a time-out to regroup.
Missed serves kept the home team trailing the visiting Mounties as the set wore on until DeGooyer landed a series of massive spin serves which got everyone’s attention and allowed her team to gain some momentum. The Seawolves evened the score at 19-19 and forced a Mounties time-out.
During their counterattack, the Mounties blocked a Seawolves’ kill attempt at the net and they took a narrow lead at 24-22. After more back and forth play, two more remarkable serves from DeGooyer concluded the lengthy set at 28-26 for the Seawolves. Without a doubt, DeGooyer’s jump serves were a main feature of the weekend.
The third set did not fare well for the Seawolves, with Mount Allison extending their lead to 22-12. That lead increased further when Rachel MacDougall forced a hit through the UNB Saint John block to finish up the set at 25-17 in favor of the Mounties.
In the fourth set, a Mount Allison service error tied the score up at 9-9. The Mounties went on a short run and pressured a Seawolves’ time-out to stop the string of points. Hard swings and beautiful plays from UNB Saint John, including shots from Taneesha Dalling and Julia Paslawski, chalked up points for the home team.
With the score tied yet again at 20-20, the Seawolves showed perseverance and willpower during the final minutes of the match. The Mounties couldn’t handle one last swing from DeGooyer, which nabbed the winning point, concluding the game at 25-21 in the Seawolves’ favour.
After an exhilarating win on Saturday, Sunday’s win did not come quite as easily for the Seawolves. They were forced to a five set match against the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus Rams.
UNB Saint John took the first point of the match. However, Dal AC kept pace, seeing the set tied 15-15 midway through. DeGooyer finished off the set when The Rams couldn’t return her jump serve, wrapping up with 25-19 in the Seawolves’ favour.
In the second set, Dal AC’s Xenna Mazal went on a four-point streak from the service line to give her team a slight lead of 14-10. Unforced Seawolves’ errors followed, leading to disappointment as the Ram’s won the set at 26-24.
The Rams’ established their presence going into the third set, and kept the Seawolves’ on their toes, but Paslawski grabbed two quick points from the service line for UNB Saint John early on, making the score 10-8.
The Seawolves kept a slight lead, but four consecutive errors forced head coach Hale-Miller to take a time-out to regroup, because the Rams were behind by just one point at 19-18. An outside hit from Dalling and a tip from DeGooyer allowed the Seawolves to pull ahead to 22-20, and a timeout was called by Dal AC.
Thea McLachlin of the Rams showed her skills throughout the match and landed kills at critical moments. This spelled trouble for the Seawolves, and things seemed to grow bleaker when Alexander went out of bounds and gave the Rams their second win of the match, at 26-24.
UNB Saint John took the lead early in the fourth set and were able to keep their momentum high until the end. Dal AC made a valiant attempt to catch their opponent and brought the score to 22-19 in their favor.
The Seawolves needed a miracle, and their fourth year veteran made that happen. Taneesha Dalling locked in a powerful kill and landed not one, but three service aces. She single-handedly kept her team in the match and they were able to come out of the fourth set with a 25-23 win.
The fifth set was going to be a sprint to fifteen points and the score was 8-7 in favor of the Seawolves when the teams switched sides on the court. UNB Saint John was able to capitalize on the Rams’ errors and they kept their cool as the score advanced to 13-8 for the Seawolves.
A rocket smash from the Rams’ McLachlin and a UNB Saint John receive error brought Dal AC to double digits, making the score 13-10, but the Seawolves were able to hold on and took the final set of a marathon match, winning the game at 15-11.
The Seawolves second win of the weekend brings their record to 8-4 and they sit in fourth place in ACAA standings.
UNB Saint John’s next matches will takes place this weekend where they will travel to Halifax to take on the University of King’s College Blue Devils on Saturday, and the Mount Saint Vincent University Mystics on Sunday.
Both games can be streamed online at www.acaatv.ca.