CARONPORT, SASK., (Feb. 9, 2019) —The SAIT Trojans women's volleyball team just could not seal the deal, Saturday afternoon.
They led 2-1, but could not finish off the match in Set 4, they had game point in the fifth set twice, but could not earn the victory, as they fell 3-2 (21-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-13, 18-16) to the host Briercrest College Clippers in their Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) matinee affair.
"I'm not sure what to say," said Trojans head coach Art O'Dwyer. "The positive we'll take out of this weekend is we battled hard. The negative is that against a good team, we're not going to get two chances to win a match. We had that, but we couldn't convert."
The loss sends SAIT home with a 13-9 record, good enough for fourth place in the ACAC's South Division. The first place Clippers move to 20-2.
The loss is the Trojans' fourth straight – each of which has come in five sets against very strong teams (Briercrest and Red Deer College). O'Dwyer is very aware of that.
"Those five-setters have probably been our best matches of the season, and we've come out on the short side of them every time," he added. "The optimist in me says it has to go our way some time, so maybe we'll get them at the end of the year when the games have more meaning."
Unlike Friday's 3-2 loss where the Trojans came back from 2-0 to tie the match and send it to five sets, SAIT was in control for the majority of the game on Saturday.
After taking a 2-1 lead, the Trojans looked lost in Set 4, which Briercrest finished off in quick fashion.
"They are on extremely good-serving team, and they went on a roll," O'Dwyer explained. "We just got stuck in a couple of rotations."
In Set 5, the Trojans got out to an early lead, but allowed the home team to come back. The teams traded points back and forth before SAIT got up 14-13. With a chance to win the game, a service error opened the door for the Clippers.
Presented with another game-point, another service error by the Trojans gave the momentum back to the Clippers, who used it to finish off the match.
O'Dwyer knows his team was close to taking two wins off the No. 4 ranked team in the country this weekend, so he hopes the losses don't overshadow the fact his team proved they can compete with the best teams in the league.
"As much as you think you can control the outcome, you really can't," he said. "The things we can control, I think we did a pretty good job of, except for a couple of points at the end in a time where we needed things to go our way."
Hayli Hinchey (5th year, Edmonton, Alta., Bachelor of Business Administration) led the Trojans with 12 kills, nine digs and two service aces. Teammate Jadyn Leong (2nd year, Calgary, EMT) added 10 kills, 13 digs and six service aces.
Becky Garner paced the Clippers with 14 kills, 14 digs and five service aces.
The Trojans will finish off their regular season next weekend with a home-and-home series against the Medicine Hat College Rattlers – Friday at home, Saturday in Med Hat.