EDMONTON - Aided by a struggling attack by the visiting University of Saskatchewan Huskies, the No.1 University of Alberta Pandas executed almost a near-perfect game en route to a straight-sets victory (25-12, 25-19, 25-15) to extend their winning streak to five, Friday night at Saville Community Sports Centre.
Fourth-year outside hitter Meg Casault recorded a game-high 10 kills, adding an ace and seven digs, while Karly Janssen, also a fourth-year outside hitter, put up nine kills, an ace, and nine digs. Third-year setter Mariah Walsh netted 26 assists.
The opening set started pretty evenly but the offensive struggles for the visiting Huskies quickly put them into a 10-4 hole, giving Alberta five consecutive points on errors.
Fourth-year left side Emmalyn Copping then added three more as part of a 7-0 Alberta run before fourth-year outside hitter Kacey Otto took control of the set with five late kills, the Alberta squad hitting at 36% for an intimidating 1-0 set lead.
Saskatchewan responded in the second, however, posting a solid six-point run to earn a 9-5 lead, Calgary native Copping recovering with five kills in the set, but the undefeated Pandas answered with precise execution, Casault leading the way this time with six kills, a late 7-1 run giving Alberta the 2-0 set lead.
Although the Huskies had the early momentum off three kills by fourth-year middle Emily Humbert, Otto served up two straight aces to sway it back to the home team, pushing up the score bit by bit and forcing the road squad to commit more errors.
Dipping back into a negative hitting percentage, sophomore left side Ruby Stefan failed with two consecutive cross-court attempts, another going high before Janssen ended the proceedings with a kill off the block.
The 5-0 Pandas and 2-5 Huskies play the second game of their weekend series on Saturday at Saville Community Sports Centre, game time at 6:30 p.m. MT.