Huskies Advance to Final; Secure Berth at Nationals

Photo Credit: Josh Schaefer Photography
Photo Credit: Josh Schaefer Photography

EDMONTON - In the first semifinal of the afternoon, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies men's volleyball team beat the University of Manitoba Bisons 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-22), Friday afternoon at Saville Community Sports Centre in Edmonton. With the straight-sets win, the Huskies advance to the conference final, and qualify for the CIS National Tournament, March 11-13 in Hamilton.

Fourth-year Huskie Andrew Nelson led Saskatchewan with 18 kills, while rookie setter CJ Gavlas finished with 35 assists. Devron Dear led the Bisons with 16 kills in defeat.

The squads opened the match by exchanging points, with the Bisons going ahead 6-5. The Huskies, led by a Bison attack error, took a slight 13-10 advantage. Dear, however, kept Manitoba in the first set, as the Bisons trailed 16-14 at the first technical timeout. Despite the Bisons taking a 21-18 lead following a massive block by Scott Vercaigne, the advantage would be short-lived, as the Huskies would roll off five straight points, and take the set 25-22.

The Bisons would open the second set on a run of their own, quickly going up 5-3. Saskatchewan, once again, would eliminate the Bison lead, as an attack error evened the set at eight. The Huskies soon took control of the second set, with a Nelson kill giving them a 14-9 lead. The Bisons mounted a short rally, cutting the lead down to five, but the Huskies would regain their momentum, taking the second set 25-19.

Similar to the first two sets, the Bisons opened the third with the lead, going up 7-3. However, the Huskies once again clawed back, as another Nelson kill cut the lead to three. The Huskies continued to gain momentum, eventually tying the set at 12-12. The two squads would go back-and-forth throughout the set, with the third eventually being tied at 21. The Huskies, however, would win four of the final five points, taking the set 25-22, and earning the straight-sets win.

The Huskies will advance to the Canada West Final tomorrow at 6:00 p.m., and will play the winner of the other semifinal match between the Alberta Golden Bears and the Trinity Western Spartans.

The Bisons, meanwhile, will still have an opportunity to qualify for the CIS tournament if they win the bronze medal match, tomorrow at 3:00 p.m.