Women topple CCAA number one ranked Grant MacEwan 3-2

Posted: November 24, 2012

By Justin Steenhof

Briercrest College Clippers (2-7) Vs. Grant MacEwan University Griffins (7-0)

Saturday November 24, 2012

After losing their Friday night game Briercrest looked to avoid a weekend sweep by the undefeated and number one CCAA Nationally ranked Grant MacEwan Griffins. This time though Briercrest managed to hold of the Griffins in a closely contested five set match 21-25, 25-23, 27-29, 25-16, 17-15 and handed the Griffins their first loss of the season.

Briercrest struggled out of the gate giving up the early lead but came roaring back to tie the game early. A series of errors though allowed to Griffins to regain the slim lead as the Griffins looked to regain the momentum. The Clippers however would just not go away and again battled back to tie the game at seven. Whitney Zylstra allowed Briercrest to grab the momentum with some strong serving as this time it was the Clippers who took the lead. A strong Briercrest defense led to a Griffin timeout with the lead 16-11.

A tip by Starlet Peterson and a stuff block by Erin Anderson continued the Briercrest surge as the Clippers looked to close out the set strong. The Griffins though would not go down easy as they used a strong defense to respond to the Briercrest push and cut the lead down too only two. The Griffins would tie the game after a Clipper timeout and then continue their push to take the slim lead. Briercrest would make their own surge and regain the lead as the Griffins would need a timeout with the score 23-22. A smartly placed tip by Elly Wendel would finish the first set 25-23 and give Briercrest the one to nothing set lead.

Briercrest would come out using a hard hitting offense led by Anderson and Peterson as they jumped out to the early lead. However, the Griffins would respond well as they battled back to tie the game and take the lead. But, two straight kills by Zylstra would halt the Griffin’s momentum and tie the game at eight. Briercrest would continue the momentum and take the lead but the Griffins would just not give in and battled back pulling themselves within two and eventually tying the game.

The two teams would begin to battle back and forth as they struggled to gain the momentum as the two teams traded points. However, it was the Clippers who found themselves trailing by three late and looking for a spark but the Griffins seemed ready to close out the set and they would do just that winning the second set 25-21 and tying the game at a set apiece.

Briercrest would start the third set with a stuff block by Kaylee Dombroski and Anderson and would continue the momentum with another block this time by Wendel as they took the slim, early lead. The Briercrest surge would continue with some fantastic scramble play, as they just did not let the ball hit the floor, but they could just not pull away from the Griffins as the score remained close. The two teams again fell into trading points and the lead as neither team could simply grab the momentum and run with it. This time though it was the Clippers who seemed ready to close out the set as they took  straight points and regained the lead forcing a Griffin timeout with the score 19-17

The Griffins would respond well to the timeout as they came back to tie the game at 20, however a kill by Peterson and a well-placed tip by Anderson would give Briercrest the 23-21 lead and force another Griffin timeout. Two straight points by the Griffins would tie the game and give way to another timeout, this time by Briercrest. The two teams would trade set points for a while before the Griffins finally managed to end it with the score 29-27 and taking a two to one set lead.

The start of the fourth set continued to follow the same script as the rest of the match as the teams traded points and the lead swung back and forth. A desperate Briercrest team looking to postpone the end of the match continued to push as they managed to take a slim lead. The Clippers continued to push as they extended their lead to six as the Griffins seemed rattled and unable to respond to the Briercrest surge forcing their coach to call a timeout.

A small run by the Griffins was instantly shut down as Briercrest responded with a few kills to further extend their lead which forced another Griffin timeout with the score 18-12 for Briercrest. A kill by Zylstra and strong serving by Brooklyn Dyck put Briercrest on the road to closing out the fourth set as they increased their lead to eight. Two straight kills by Wendel finished of the fourth set with the score 25-16 and tying the game at two set apiece.

5th set:

In the final set the Griffins would come out strong taking the early three point lead however a kill by Wendel would spark a Briercrest run that would tie the game at five. The two teams would again begin to trade points with both teams looking to seize the momentum as the score remained close late into the set. The Griffins though would grab three straight points to taking the lead 11-8 and force a Briercrest timeout as the women tried to regroup.

Briercrest responded well as they cut the Griffin’s lead to one forcing the Griffins into a timeout with the score 12-11. The two teams again traded points leading to the score being 14-13 for the Griffins and another timeout, this time by Briercrest. The Clippers came roaring back with two straight points taking the lead at 15-14 and forcing yet another timeout.  The two teams traded points and then a Wendel kill finished off the fifth set 17-15, giving Briercrest the three to two set victory.

Briercrest Clippers player of the game: #3 Erin Anderson five digs, one block, one ace, and 10 kills

Grant MacEwan Griffins player of the game: #11 Christina Campbell 16 digs, 15 kills

Games notes: Briercrest led every statistical category in the upset of CCAA number one ranked Grant MacEwan, except for kills which were a dead heat at 55 apiece. Briercrest held the edge in service aces 11 to nine, digs 120 to 112, and blocks nine to five.

Briercrest statistical leaders were Elly Wendel with a team high 13 kills, Kaylee Dombroski and Mikayla Reinhardt with a game high three service aces each, Brooke Peterson with a game and ACAC season league high 35 digs, and Whitney Zylstra with a game high four blocks.

Briercrest improved their record to 3-7 with their next game coming Jan. 11 in Lethbridge.