By Jake McLarney
OLDS, AB – Olds College Broncos men's volleyball team lost 3-0 (25-16, 25-23, 25-23) to the SAIT Trojans in the Olds College Student Appreciation Night Friday, January 24, 2020.
SAIT started the game strong. Thundersky Walkingbear and the Broncos tried to make a dent in the SAIT lead but they could only watch as SAIT slowly pulled ahead while allowing Olds the odd point. The set was won by the Trojans 25-17
The second set had similar lineups on both sides, but SAIT came out even more intense than the first set. This combined with the Broncos mental errors from serving and easier passes being given up saw SAIT leading 10-6. The Broncos weren't going out without a fight and some defensive efforts from Jesse Stoddart and Haiden Hurtig helped them with their transition into offense which was most effective through Thundersky Walkingbear. Eventually at 16-13 the Broncos brought back in Mason Muller and added Aidyn Phillips to try to mount a comeback. The game stayed within reach for most of the second half but eventually the Broncos were forced to call a timeout when SAIT took the lead at 20-16. This was the right call by head coach Ryan Marsden as the Broncos proceeded to bring the game to SAIT until they were down by one at 22-21. Both teams fought hard as the score was 23-24 before SAIT finally put the finishing blow down the line.
The third set started a bit slower with rallies that didn't last as long or were fought for as hard. Both teams seemed a bit deflated from working so hard in the previous, but the score was level at 10-10 a few minutes into the set. SAIT was starting to gain some momentum when Hurtig put in a massive block against the Trojan middle to make the score 14-13. The Trojans continued to push trying to put the game away with the Broncos fighting back just as hard while trailing 16-17 as they called the first timeout of the set. The Broncos were fighting hard to stay in the set as well as the game as Matheus Franca put a powerful cross court hit away from the Trojans defense to tie the game at 21 each. SAIT took the set 25-23.
Player of the game for SAIT was Mark Anderson with team high 13 kills, and the Pit Barbecue Player of the Game for Olds was Jesse Stoddart with a team high 14 digs.
SAIT edged the Broncos in kills 38-31, assists 34-29, service aces 2-1, digs 42-40 and blocks 42-40. Thundersky Walkingbear had a team high 13 kills and the lone service ace, Thomas Pugsley had a team high 23 assists, and Haiden Hurtig and Ryzen Walkingbear each had a block for Olds.
The Broncos host Red Deer College Saturday, Feb 8 for the Make Some Noise for Mental Health games at 6:00 and 8:00 pm.