Griffins unable to stick with Golden Bears in rematch, falling in straight sets

Jonah Karsten hammers a shot against the Golden Bears on Saturday night (Eduardo Perez photo).
Jonah Karsten hammers a shot against the Golden Bears on Saturday night (Eduardo Perez photo).

Jason Hills
For MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON— The MacEwan Griffins poked the bear, and felt the brunt of their displeasure of their cross-town rival, University of Alberta Golden Bears.

MacEwan ran into an absolute buzz saw and were overpowered in straight sets (25-11, 25-15, 25-11) Saturday night at David Atkinson Gym.

Second-year outside hitter Jefferson Morrow led MacEwan with six kills and two digs, while fourth-year outside hitter Alexei Walisser had five kills and six digs in the loss.

First-year outside hitter Isaac Heslinga led Alberta's potent attack with 14 kills and eight digs, while third-year outside hitter Jordan Canham recorded eight kills, seven digs, three blocks and two aces, as Alberta held a .506 attack percentage in the near flawless win.

"After last night, I don't think they liked the fact that we were able to take a set, and they came out ready," said Morrow.

"At the end of the day, we were prepared, but we weren't ready for that next level, and we didn't execute at all."

Alberta came out firing in the opening set and didn't give MacEwan a chance to gain an ounce of momentum. The Griffins held a slim 4-3 lead, but then the Golden Bears cranked it up a notch offensively and were able to go on some big runs to break the set wide open.

Alberta made it 10-5 off a kill from third-year outside hitter Braedon Friesen and then Alberta went on a run to make it 19-9.

MacEwan simply didn't have an answer for the power of the Golden Bears attack.

"They got up early with their big boys, and I think we got in our heads a little bit. Sometimes we went into our shell, and against a team like that, you have to be aggressive," said Morrow.

In the second set, MacEwan stuck with the Golden Bears and trailed 13-12, but a 5-0 run made it 18-12, and then the Golden Bears went on another 6-2 run to close out the set.

Through the first two sets, MacEwan had 21 kills as a team, but 18 attack errors. Alberta had just three attack errors.

"Tonight, I thought our passing was better, but our attack really dropped off. We have to find a way to get everything going at the same time," said Morrow.

MacEwan got off to a decent start in the final set and were in striking distance, but the wheels started to fall off again in the set, as Alberta started to find their stride.

Alberta really dominated the service line as they recorded seven aces, including four in the fourth set, alone, while MacEwan didn't have any.

"They're a really good serving team, and they put so much pressure on you passing-wise and when you don't pass well, they make it really hard to score with good blockers and defenders." said second-year setter Alexander Lyndon.

Alberta took a 12-7 lead off a kill from second-year middle Graydon Wiebe, and then the Golden Bears were in cruise control as they went on a 13-4 run to finish off MacEwan.

"They're a very efficient team, and they play that style of volleyball very well, and they're hard to beat. The thing that gives you pride is walking off the court knowing you played well, and we didn't do that tonight, and that's the frustrating part," said Lyndon.

"We wanted to compete like we did last night, and in volleyball you have to execute in all different phases of the game, and when you don't in even half of them, you can't compete at all."

MacEwan will travel to Calgary next weekend to face the Mount Royal Cougars in a two-game series, and then return home the following weekend to finish their regular season against the University of Calgary Dinos.