It was a grind it out kind of game for the Lions this evening as they took on local rival SAIT. Playing on a Thursday night, both teams had to establish a bit of a different routine than their normal Friday or Saturday game preparation. SAIT quickly got out to a 2-0 set lead, however Ambrose showed their fight tonight and clawed back to win 3–2.
The Lions came into the match having lost their last 4 in a row and needing some confidence playing against what on paper would appear to be a weaker SAIT team. Early in the year the Lions beat SAIT in their home gym 3 – 0 and had the goal of doing the same tonight at home. Clearly the Trojans had a different plan and played very strong this evening, serving tough and frustrating the Lions attack.
SAIT jumped out to an early lead in the first set thanks to strong defensive play however the Lions didn't do themselves any favors as they passed very poorly and committed 10 services errors and 12 attack errors in the first 2 sets. While both of the first 2 sets were close, the Trojans won both 25-22.
To start the 2nd set, head coach Colin Kubinec, tried to spark his team as his team was lacking the energy and passion he desired. Sydney Modrzejewski and McKenna Harkness played admirably for the Lions in this set and helped turn the momentum for the Lions.
In no way did a switch flip and the Lions become dominant in the 3rd and 4th sets. Even though they won them both, it was still not the cleanest volleyball for the Lions. Veterans, Julia Kemper, Ali Leskow and Willow Lewington throughout the night, provided the strong, confident presence the Lions needed on a night where everyone didn't have their best stuff.
In the 5th set, SAIT again started strong, going up 3-0, thanks to a setter dump by Linnea Brickwood and serve ace by Taryn Corkery. Ambrose got it back to an 8-7 led, before switching sides. SAIT had a chance to win the game, up 13-14, but thanks to a Willow Lewington kill, the Lions kept the game alive. Back to back kills by Jeena Johner, finished the game for the Lions.
After the game, Head Coach Colin Kubinec, reiterated, while it was far from their best performance of the year, he was proud that his girls stuck together to come back and win the match. "I thought we came out very flat in the first couple sets. We were passing a 1.4 and 1.5 in the first 2 sets and we can't run an effective offence out of that and so that really hindered us in the whole offensive side of the game. Although we were frustrated by our play in the first sets, I am proud of the fact that we were able to turn it around in the last half of the game, I think that showed character and maturity. I feel there is a confidence of our group in the way that they are unified that we relied upon tonight and it seemed to work."
Player of the game awards were presented to Jayden Leong (SAIT) and Ali Leskow (Ambrose).
These two teams will rematch again tomorrow, playing again at 6:00pm at Ambrose.