(FREDERICTON, NB) The UNB REDS and Saint Mary's Huskies engaged in another thrilling five-set Atlantic University Sport women's volleyball thriller on Saturday, with the Huskies winning 3-2.
Huskies' left side Olivia Bell (Lahave, NS) registered a match-high 25 kills and added 20 digs, earning Subway Player of the Game.
"We were a little bit more focused, a little bit more dialed in," said Bell. "We were aggressive to get behind the ball and want to play it, want to dig it, want to hit it."
Saturday's five-set affair followed Friday's five-set match that UNB won 3-2.
"They're a tough team, they're a strong team," said REDS' head coach Richard Schick, of the Huskies. "They've got some go to players and they step up."
In the first set, the Huskies pulled out to an early 9-6 lead before the REDS scored five straight to go ahead 11-9.
The hosts then extended their lead to 17-11.
An attack error by the Huskies was the final point of the set, a 25-18 win for the REDS.
In the second set, the teams waged a back-and-forth battle, neither side able to extend any lead in a significant way.
Tied 9-9, then 10-10, the Huskies then put together a 2-0 run on a couple of REDS errors, prompting a UNB timeout. Saint Mary's returned to the court and added three more points.
The REDS continued to struggle and Schick was forced to spend another timeout.
UNB responded, closing the gap to four points, down 14-18, prompting a Huskies timeout.
The REDS rally continued, highlighted by a Meghan Vaags (Abbotsford, BC) service ace pulling them even, 19-19.
Tied 25-25, the Huskies scored the next two points to win the set 27-25.
In the third, the REDS went right to work, building an early 5-1 lead on the strong serving of team captain Bailey Lemieux (Fredericton, NB).
UNB then pushed their lead to 9-3.
When the REDS went up 18-11, the Huskies called timeout, hoping to halt UNB's momentum.
The home team scored four of the next five points, going up 22-12.
Saint Mary's would score four of the next five points, trimming UNB's lead to 23-16.
The REDS held off a late Huskies push, winning the set 25-19.
The fourth set saw the Huskies jump out to an early 7-4 lead and keep the REDS at a distance, going up 17-12.
UNB then scored five of the next seven points, trimming the Huskies' lead to 19-17.
UNB fought to tie the set 23-23 and then traded points with the Huskies to 25-25.
SMU forced a deciding set with a 27-25 win.
In the fifth, the Huskies led 4-2 early and pushed their advantage to 7-4 before the REDS roared back, scoring three consecutive points to tie the set 7-7.
The teams traded points until Saint Mary's strung back-to-back points to take a 12-11 lead.
The REDS stayed close, but the visitors scored a 16-14 win, taking the match 3-2.
"We played a lot better than we did yesterday," said Lemieux. "It doesn't fall on one point. There's 25 points in a set, 15 points in a set. We're a strong group together and we work well together, and we understand that. It's disappointing, but we know what we can do."
Heather Benko (Sechelt, BC) led the REDS with 17 kills, while Lemieux had 12.
The loss drops UNB's record to 3-and-3, while the Huskies improve to 3-and-2. Both are now tied for third in the AUS standings.
Next up for both teams, the AUS league tournament, at Memorial, November 18-20.
The Huskies open the weekend, on Friday, facing Acadia, in a match that begins at 2:30pm Atlantic.
The REDS face the host Sea-Hawks on Friday evening. First serve is scheduled for 6:30pm Atlantic.
RECAP BY: Andy Campbell/UNB Athletics
PHOTOS BY: James West/for UNB Athletics