A long-overdue victory


Cougars men’s volleyball team picks up first Canada West regular season victory since last January

Autumn McDowell
Sports Writer

For the University of Regina Cougars men’s volleyball team, it was a win that was a long time coming.

The Cougars were able to capture their first win of the season last Friday night, and the first since Jan. 23, 2009, by earning a 25-19, 17-25, 25-17, 21-25, 15-10 Canada West victory over the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health and Sport.

Numerous members of the Cougars played well including setter Matt Hender, who finished the night with 32 assists, nine blocks and six digs.

“It was a good game,” explained Hender. “[Thompson Rivers] came out with a different rotation than we were used to seeing, but once we got used to it we were able to find the holes.”

The first set saw a lot of key blocks made by the Cougars, while the WolfPack were guilty of numerous service errors, giving up many free points to Regina. However, Thompson Rivers proved that they weren’t going to be an easy team to take out as they came back to take the second set 25-17.

In the third set, a crucial substitution was made by the WolfPack that saw Kevin Tillie, who leads conference in kills, come into the game after resting an injury.

“They put in their best player, which gave them some confidence, but we were still able to take the third set,” observed Hender.

Although Tillie was only subbed into the game late in the third, he was able to register eight kills for the visiting squad. His presence on the court was immediately felt but the home town boys were able to tighten up their defensive game.

Throughout the game, it really was a story of defensive play. Joel Colter led the way in the blocking department for the Cougars, earning 12 out of the teams 20 blocks, and now sits second in the conference with an average of 1.61 blocks per set. Colter’s 12 blocks set a U of R single-match record. Other players who really stepped it up on the defensive side of things for Regina included Brody Waddell, who led the team with nine digs and Drew Smith, who had seven blocks.

Hender said, “Our defence played well and made a lot of key blocks.” 

Jamie Wilkins led the way offensively for the Cougars, registering 14 kills.

Ryan Talsma did his best to help out the WolfPack, as he was credited with 12 kills, while Joel Caschetto also pitched in with 10. WolfPack setter Colin Carson had a monster night with 41 assists and 12 digs on the night. However, even with these individual performances, the team was unable to come together in order to conquer Regina.

“It feels great to get this win and it won’t be the last,” Hender promised.

The Cougars were not so fortunate the next day, dropping a 25-22, 25-11, 26-24 decision to Thompson Rivers. The Cougars now sit eighth in the conference with a record of 1-5, while the WolfPack is fifth at 3-3. The Cougars are in action this weekend, when they make the trip to Calgary to take on the 6-0 Dinos. These will be the last games that the team will play before the December break and should provide a good challenge for Regina.

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