The UNBSJ Seawolves women’s volleyball team hosted their final regular season match on Sunday against the Mount Saint Vincent University Mystics.
The Seawolves recognized their two graduating athletes, libero Indigo Clement and outside hitter Taneesha Dalling, in front of their home crowd. Both fourth year Seawolves will be graduating in the spring.
UNB Saint John knew the match wasn’t going to be a walk in the park with the Mystics sitting in first place in the conference standings with only one loss this season. Coming off a tough loss on Friday night, the Seawolves would need to be firing on all cylinders to grab a win.
UNBSJ managed to stay close to the visiting Mystics during the first set until MSVU’s veteran line-up, comprised of three fifth year students and two fourth year students, showed their expertise and made the home team pay for their errors.
Head coach, Lauren Hale-Miller, called for a time-out for the Seawolves as the Mystics began to pull away with the score at 18-13.
On the next play, a kill attempt from Taneesha Dalling was blocked at the net and the Mystics continued on their rampage. MSVU then went on a four-point streak,including the match point which enabled them to take the first set, with a score of 25-15.
The Seawolves did not let the Mystics pull ahead in the beginning of the second set, but a devious tip from Mystics’ setter, Jaylene Fraser, got her team amped up and marked the start of a momentum swing in favor of MSVU.
Two Seawolves hitting errors finished off the second set, with the score at 25-17 for the Mystics.
Despite playing the first-place ranked team, UNB Saint John remained resilient and showed toughness coming into the decisive third set.
This time the home team would not go down without a fight and, after trailing the Mystics by as many as seven points, the Seawolves demonstrated incredible perseverance and battled MSVU to the end of a lengthy set.
An outside hit from Dalling that went out of bounds off the Mystics block was the match point and allowed the Seawolves to stay alive in the match, taking the third set at 35-33.
Despite the boost of confidence after the impressive comeback in the third set, UNB Saint John couldn’t defend the huge swings from the Mystics’ outside hitters.
A step-around kill from UNBSJ middle, Dayna Alexander, would tie the score up at 7-7, but would be followed by an eight point-run by the Mystics. The Seawolves could not come back from the point deficit and would fall to the veteran Mystics squad, 25-17, in the final set.
Dalling and Clement finished off their last home game with 7 kills and 20 digs, respectively.
UNB Saint John’s two losses over the weekend bumps them down to fourth place in the conference standings with a 12-9 record to finish off the regular season.
The Seawolves will travel to Truro this weekend to battle in the ACAA Volleyball Championships hosted by Dalhousie Agricultural College.
Regarding how the Seawolves will be preparing for the finals, head-coach Lauren Hale-Miller said, “Our practices [will] focus on game situations and communication. The game plan this weekend is to stay aggressive on first contact and serve. Our focus is our side of the net only. If we can play our system successfully then we will be good to go.”
Quarterfinals will be played on Friday afternoon with winners advancing to the semi-final rounds on Saturday, and the finals on Sunday.