By Emilie Medland-Marchen, January 31 2016 —
The Dinos women’s volleyball team helped round out this season’s overall Crowchild Classic win over the Mount Royal University Cougars, earning a hard-fought victory on Jan. 30 to complete the three-sport, 16-game series between the two universities. With the win, the Dinos’ 2015–16 record against the Cougars moves to 9–5–2, meaning The Medal — a City of Calgary manhole cover that serves as the series’ trophy — will remain with the University of Calgary.
The final victory didn’t come easy, however, as the Dinos came back from an initial loss to win the second game of their back-to-back set with the Cougars.
The game was characterized by back-and-forth volleys that left both teams fighting to get ahead. But the Dinos women remained focused through each set, managing to outscore their opponents in the last few points of each round.
A starting lineup featuring veterans Jaylynn Moffatt and Amber Adolf meant the Dinos’ offensive approach was established early on. The Dinos fired off a set of kills that were rebounded by Mount Royal’s defensively-minded team.
Even with an early lead, the Cougars managed to gain ground over the Dinos, rounding out the first set 21–25, despite three kills from Moffatt in the early game.
But the Dinos regained their focus, firing back in the second set with a heavy offensive effort that put striker Adolf’s skills on full display. She ended up with 11 overall kills for her team, just shy of Moffatt’s 14.
“We came out with that hunger to win,” Adolf said. “Everyone was playing very together — we all supported each other, and that helped out a lot.”
The Dinos redeemed themselves in the second set with a seven-point lead that left the Cougars struggling to regain their footing. Early in the third set, Adolf pounded yet another kill over the net to pull the Dinos ahead once again.
But the Cougars never lost their resolve, playing defensively and racking up points in the middle of the third set to tie the match 16–16. The game remained close as both teams inched towards the conclusion of the set, but it was the Dinos who managed to come out ahead, winning the set point and the round 27–25.
It was an all-out scramble towards the finish for both. The Dinos had a rough start down 4-10 in the first half of the set, but a kill from Adolf brought the team back to speed, tying the game at 11–11.
Maintaining their defense, the Dinos managed to fend off the Cougars’ late charge and won the set match 25–21, securing a final score of 3–1 against their crosstown rivals.
For Dinos head coach Natalie Gurnsey, it was her team’s focus that helped maintain the lead towards the end of the last three sets.
“We were really focused on our personal job and not giving points away early on,” Gurnsey said. “We made way too many serving errors last night, so we talked a lot about making Mount Royal earn their points tonight.”
The Dinos women’s volleyball team will now take a weekend off before heading into their last leg of the season. Their record stands at 13–17, but Gurnsey said she is still hoping for a chance at playoffs.
“We have a weekend off which is very much-needed for our bodies,” Gurnsey said. “But we know what we need to do to get a shot at playoffs. We need to do some winning down the home stretch here.”
The Dinos will compete next against the University of Alberta Pandas in Edmonton on Feb. 12–13.