The first game of the 2017 MCAC Volleyball Final Fours was a three-set sweep for the women’s defending champion Providence University College Pilots.
The game’s first set started out with the score close, neither team asserting much dominance over the match and trading points back and forth without a significant lead.
It continued to be close until PUC reached the 20-point mark at which point Providence pulled away winning the first frame 25-15.
The second set began in similar fashion with both teams trading free balls and suffering unforced errors to get the score to 8-8. PUC All-Conference selection LaRae Driedger registered a big kill for PUC and seemed to get the Pilots interested again, and once the Pilots went up 11-8, RRC Head coach Dan McGregor took a timeout to try to recollect.
McGregor’s timeout seemed to work for the Rebels as RRC began developing more of an attack out of their defensive efforts and after leftside Anika Gray made good on back-to-back attacks for the Rebels, both teams were tied at 14.
“They always play scrappy defence but we were able to neutralize that a little more this time” says PUC Head coach, Kyle Guenther. The Pilots and Rebels entered today’s game having gone to a 5-set PUC win when they last met in the regular season.
The size and strength of a very strong PUC team eventually began to show through midway through the second set and the Pilots gained points in much easier fashion than the Rebels seemed to be able to. PUC Middle blocker Sara Barker outreached and outpowered her matchups regularly and the Pilot’s third-year setter, Sam Bridle, played consistently throughout the game even when her team fell into small lulls.
After winning the second set 25-20, the Pilots led through most of the third and a comeback for the Rebels felt like an extremely steep climb to make.
“Our goal is to get better throughout the match, and I think we did that” says Guenther.
“A few low points in the middle of the second and third sets, we just kind of got complacent and just kind of went through the motions for a bit. But we have to remember it doesn’t matter what’s happening on the other side, it doesn’t matter what the score is, we have to remember to always keep improving and always getting more energy and enthusiasm and urgency and we finished the second and third sets with that, which was really good to see.”
The Pilots move on to the Women’s Final tomorrow at 1:00pm at Universite de Saint-Boniface.