Cougars host volleyball invitational


author: nathan mccarville | sports writer

 Spike it! / Nathan McCarville

Cougars finish 2-3 in preseason tournament

The Cougars recently hosted the annual University of Regina Invitational volleyball tournament this past weekend, taking place between Sep. 21 and Sept. 23. The weekend tournament, in which each team participating played five games, was met with mixed results for the Cougars, winning two out of the five matches that they played against the participating Canada West teams as part of the preseason preparations for the regular season to commence in mid-October.  

The weekend started off strong for the Cougars when they played against the Manitoban team, the University of Winnipeg Wesmen. Of the five games that the Cougars played, the Cougars won three out of the five, winning the first by 25-13, losing the next with 25-27 for the Wesmen, losing the following game as well with 17-25, though coming out on top by winning two games in a row with scores of 26-24 in the fourth game and 20-18 in the fifth game.  

Feeling good about the first match on the first day of the tournament on a Friday, the match later that day proved to be less profitable for the Cougars, losing to the University of Alberta Pandas who came out on top, with the Pandas winning 3-2. The Cougars started off the match with a win over their Albertan rivals, winning 25-20. However, the next game brought a narrow loss for the Cougars, where the Pandas were able to cinch a small win over the Cougars with a score of 26-24 for the U of A team. The Cougars lost the next one as well, less narrowly this time with a score of 20-25.They did win the next game 25-13, though the final deciding round of the match ended with the unfavourable score of 15-7 for the Pandas, giving the Cougars a loss to chase their win on the first day.  

The following day, the Cougars started their day facing off against the University of Manitoba Bisons. The Bisons however made it unnecessary to play a fifth game to fulfil the best 3 out of 5 winning condition, winning three games in the first four games of the match. The Bisons took the win in the first match with a score of 27-25 for the Bisons, though the Cougars found their feet shortly after, beating the Bisons by nine points in the second match with a score of 25-16. The Bisons won narrowly in the next two games, the third game being won by four points with a score of 25-21 for the Bisons, and the fourth game ending with a score of 25-20.  

The Cougars turned the previous result around in their favour where they faced off against their opponents named after a cat with smaller claws, and for the team it proved both figurative in their mascot and literal on the court. The Brandon Bobcats played against the Cougars, and found themselves losing after only four games against the Cougars, the Cougars winning the first, second, and fourth games, while losing the third game by 12 points against the Bobcats.  

The final game of the tournament saw the Trinity Western Spartans playing against the Cougars. The outcome was difficult to predict for the duration of the games, the Cougars losing only by 2-3 points in the three games that they lost against the Spartans. The Cougars managed to win the second game, but again, they played only four games against the Spartans before the loss was called and the players shook hands.  

Speaking to the Assistant Coach, who was the head coach for the duration of the tournament, Coach Caleb Eschbach was able to give some insight into the Cougars performance over the weekend.  

, “It was a good fight; it was good to see where we stack up against [Trinity Western]. Last year, we had some good matches against them, so it was good to see them. [Trinity Western and it] is also our opening weekend, so it’s good to see where they’re at and where we’re at. But I thought overall it was a good fight, just didn’t end up in the result that we wanted.” 

As for the closeness of the game, Eschbach said, “It was really close and then we just kind of just let them go on runs or we fought them back and won just like we won in the second. Just a few less unfortunate serves and the difference is that we could have won instead of lost.” 

The Cougars next games will be taking place in Winnipeg in the Unruh Realty Invitational Tournament hosted by the Winnipeg Wesmen. Currently, the only teams set to play in the Tournament are the Winnipeg Wesmen, Brandon Bobcats, and L’Université de Moncton. On the upcoming games in the invitational, Eschbach commented that, “I think we’re all really excited. It’s going to be an interesting experience. Once again, I get to be head coach as Melanie [Sanford] is going to be in Japan, so we’re excited. It’s going to be another chance to gage where we’re at and get prepared for Trinity Western in our opening weekend.”  

The Cougars will begin their regular season on Oct. 19 with two games against Trinity Western in Langley BC. 

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