The Kodiaks put up a fight in five-set loss against Briercrest
By Doug Barr
Briercrest Clippers (9-1) vs. Lethbridge Kodiaks (6-4)
As the teams started the first set, both teams came out with great energy and skill; however, our Briercrest Clippers took the momentum early by leading at 6-1. After a block by Josh Wendel, the Kodiaks were forced to take a time out. The pressure continued with an amazing kill by Cody Quiring and Briercrest continued to keep their lead. Nic Dubinsky on the Kodiaks made a great kill; however, it was quickly countered by an impressive kill from Briercrest’s own Kyle Pankratz. He followed this with a great block and Scott Willms also made two sensational blocks to once again force the Kodiaks to take a time out with a score of 14-5. Cody Quiring, Steve Guenther and Josh Wendel continued to put on the pressure with three very strong kills as Briercrest continued to increase their lead to 19-10. The aggressive attack did not cease, as Steve Guenther unleashed a cannon of a serve to cause a ‘hanger.’ The lead then increased to 22-12 after a powerful kill by Kyle Pankratz. The set ended with the Briercrest Clippers winning with a score of 25-15.
Going into the second set it appeared both teams came out swinging as the score stayed within one. Kyle Pankratz and Cody Quiring continued their impressive nights with incredible kills; however, Hakon Ostrem and Nic Dubinsky from the Kodiaks returned the favor with two kills of their own. The score continued to stay within one point, until Hakon Ostrem made a great dig, followed by a remarkable kill by Nic Dubinsky to make it 10-8 for Lethbridge. The Clippers tied it and then surpassed the Kodiaks – to lead 13-12; this forced the Kodiaks to use a time out. Then, Steve Guenther once again unleashed his powerful serves to gain a few aces. With some great defense and Jay Kostek making a couple amazing serves of his own, the Kodiaks stole the lead – making it 17-21; at this time Briercrest head coach Nigel Mullan decided to take his first time out. However, Kyle Pankratz with astonishing power gained a kill and forced the Kodiaks to take a time out of their own with a score of 21-22. The Clippers took a time out with a score of 23-24; the game then tied up in dramatic fashion. In a more chaotic fashion, the Kodiaks took the second set 26-24.
As the third set began, Nic Dubinsky from the Kodiaks continued to have a strong presence with a kill and block. However, Josh Wendel came back with two astonishing kills of his own bringing the score to 4-3. Hakon Ostrem from the Kodiaks also continued his hot night with another kill; however, Cody Quiring quickly answered with a kill of his own to take the lead at 8-7. This match continued to be a one point game, with both teams struggling to gain a lead. Nic Dubinsky was unrelenting, as he had another strong kill and forced Briercrest to take a time out. This was followed by Hakon Ostrem from the Kodiaks continuing his hot night with an ace – bringing the score to 11-14. Josh Wendel also followed suit with another kill to add to his tally this game. Josh Senneker, in addition, made an amazing kill to bring the score closer at 14-19. However, Hakon Ostrem of the Kodiaks continued his onslaught with another kill and block. Though the score was 17-24, the Clippers did not go quietly with two kills from Steve Guenther. In the end, the Kodiaks would win the third set 25-19.
Fourth set initiated with the same intensity as the last, with both teams coming out strong. However, Cody Quiring had two kills to bring the Briercrest Clippers ahead 3-1. Josh Wendel continued to build on the lead with a sensational kill; Steve Guenther made his presence felt once again with his serves to bring the score to 9-6. Cody Quiring added to his total as well when it came to kills; however, Hakon Ostrem continued to answer back for the Kodiaks with two kills to take the lead 12-11 Kodiaks. As Josh Senneker came onto the court for the Clippers, he made quick work getting a kill of his own and an ace to tie the game 16-16. Steve Guenther and Josh Wendel worked together to make a beautiful and solid block, making the Kodiaks use a time out at a score of 18-16 for Briercrest. Steve Guenther and Josh Wendel never seemed to relent as they both gained another ace on the night; forcing the Kodiak to use another time out with a score of 22-18. Quickly after, Cody Quiring had an astonishing kill and was followed by a remarkable block by Josh Senneker; the Briercrest Clippers would go on to win the fourth set 25-20.
The fifth and final set started in similar style to the others, with high intensity and great offensive aggression. The teams stayed within one point of each other as previous sets; yet, energy seemed to be in Briercrest’s favor as Cody Quiring made an amazing kill to make it 5-4. At the half way mark, Briercrest continued their momentum with an incredible block by Cody Quiring; after this, the Kodiaks had to use a time out at a score of 9-5 Briercrest. Josh Senneker continued to assist Briercrest with two back-to-back blocks. With a score of 12-9 for Briercrest, Coach Nigel Mullan called a time out. With dramatic tension for the finish, Josh Senneker spiked it home for a kill; however, Hakon Ostrem answered back with a kill of his own, which forced Briercrest to use their time out with a score of 13-11. Josh Wendel had a kill to bring the score to 14-13, but Nic Dubinsky from the Kodiaks answered back to tie it up. In the end, Josh Wendel would make an incredible kill to take the win for Briercrest this final set, 16-14 to complete an emotional 3-2 comeback (25-15, 24-26, 19-25, 25-20, 16-14).
Briercrest Player of the game: #8 Josh Wendel with two blocks, one ace, nine kills and four digs.
Lethbridge Player of the game: #9 Hakon Ostrem with one block, three aces, 17 kills and fifteen digs.
Games notes: Briercrest and Lethbridge were in a dead heat in every statistical category. Both teams were dead even with 50 kills apiece, Lethbridge led in service aces eight to seven, but Briercrest led digs 67 to 65, and Lethbridge took blocks nine to six.
Briercrest statistical leaders were Cody Quiring with 13 kills, Steven Guenther with a game high four aces, and Carter Reimer with 14 digs. For blocks, Steven Guenther, Josh Wendel and Scott Willms tied with two blocks a piece.