DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
It may still only be November, but a five-set volleyball match Saturday felt like one that could define seasons.
The Mount Royal Cougars, who were swept handily on Friday night, avoided the same fate 24 hours later, rallying from two sets down to beat the Winnipeg Wesmen 3-2 (13-25, 17-25, 25-23, 25-13, 15-7) in a Canada West women's volleyball match at the Duckworth Centre.
Cassidy Kitchen had 17 kills to lead three Cougars in double digits as Mount Royal (5-5) crept back to .500 on the season, while the Wesmen missed out on a chance to further advance up the Canada West standings.
Emma Parker had a career-high 18 kills and 12 digs for her seventh double-double of the season, and Kalena Schulz had her second straight night in double digits with 12 kills for the Wesmen (3-7), who hit .056 in the fourth set and .000 in the third.
Wesmen head coach Diane Scott said the weekend provided a glimpse of the two teams that the Wesmen can be: confident and flowing when things are going right, and tentative and unsure when things are rolling off track.
"From the onset of the match, we were doing the same things that we always do in terms of releasing (sets) only to the pins and not setting the middle," Wesmen head coach Diane Scott said. "... They just stayed aggressive and as time went on — that third set — we were too passive. When you're up 2-zero that's a common thing, but we talked about it and talked about it. But those last two sets are reminiscent of the team that we've been before."
Carly Davies added 15 kills for the Cougars, who won three straight critical points while up 21-20 in the third to swing the pivotal set in their favour.
"(Davies) she put some balls away for us and she was definitely the difference-maker in the end (of the third)," Mount Royal coach Sandra Lamb said. "We just stayed consistent with our serve and our serve is probably what brought us back into that.
"Our energy in the last three sets was obviously a lot better. We just made some changes in the middle and we were able to score. I thought we were better tonight (than Friday) ... but I think our subs did a helluva job coming in tonight."
Nataliia Klimenova had a match-high 24 digs for the Cougars, and Haley Roe added 10 kills and 11 digs.