Compete effort leads Griffins to straight-sets victory over Calgary Dinos

Lauren Holmes had 14 kills for the Griffins on Friday night - one of three players in double digits for kills (Scott Stewart photo).
Lauren Holmes had 14 kills for the Griffins on Friday night - one of three players in double digits for kills (Scott Stewart photo).

Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics

-With files from Dinos Athletics

CALGARY – Playing their most complete game of the season, the MacEwan Griffins got contributions across the whole lineup in a 3-0 win over the Calgary Dinos in Canada West women's volleyball action on Friday night.

The 25-16, 25-17, 29-27 win pushes MacEwan's record back to 3-4, while the Dinos fall to 0-5.

"It was huge because these first four weekends have been so hard," said head coach Ken Briggs. "Here we are on the road again. That was really big."

MacEwan finished with a tidy .301 team efficiency in the match as they bounced back with aplomb from back-to-back straight set losses at U SPORTS No. 1 Trinity Western last weekend.

"We dominated the first two sets, hit over .400 in each of them," said Briggs. "We eliminated our errors and we had three people in double digits in kills and really low errors."

McKenna Stevenson led the way with 15 kills on .542 hitting percentage – the second-most efficient mark ever by a Griffins player in a Canada West match – while Lauren Holmes had 14 at .419 and Hailey Cornelis chipped in 10 kills and a game-high 17 digs.

"I'm just really happy," said Briggs. "It was really an overall effort. Lost in the shuffle was Kylie (Schubert). She had 44 assists. She ran a great offence, even to the point the linesman standing next to me as we scored the final point goes 'your setter was incredible.'

"She did a really good job, but that helps because we passed so much better. In the end I always tell you that pass-serve game is everything, so she can run all that stuff."

The service line proved to be instrumental for the Griffins in the first set, as Calgary dug themselves into a hole on serve receive and MacEwan rolled to a convincing victory.

 In the second set, the Dinos were unable to pin down their momentum due to five crucial service errors. Schubert pushed a rapid tempo as MacEwan raced to a comfortable Set 2 win.

 Despite falling two points short of victory, the Dinos squad came alive in Set 3, arguably putting on their best performance of the season. They pushed the Griffins but it was a couple of missed MacEwan serves down the stretch that really allowed them to stretch the match as long as they did.

Ultimately, the third set is the hardest to win, so the fact the Griffins were able to persevere is a big step forward for the program.

"They reflected on it afterwards and knew they had been through this before against Mount Royal," said Briggs. "They remained calm. They didn't get panicky. They still made some mistakes – we missed back to back serves at 25 or 26 to let them tie it. Then we'd come back and serve receive and run something and score. It's just a little bit of confidence in that they knew they controlled our side. We passed really well. That was really good.

 "They know they've got a little break after this, so today they came out with the right attitude."

The teams meet again on Saturday (4 p.m., Canada West TV presented by Co-op) before MacEwan heads into a bye week.