Captains Umlah and Vande Kemp help keep Mounties’ playoff hopes alive

The women’s volleyball team was in action Saturday as they took on the University of King’s College Blue Devils and emerged victorious three sets to one. The Mounties entered the game with a seven-and-seven record, trying to push above .500 for the season. They had struggled slightly, coming into the game with two wins and four losses since the start of second semester, compared to the five wins and three losses they had heading into the break. This was the second meeting between the two teams in as many weeks, with the Mounties securing a 3-0 victory at UKC. The Mounties were hoping to have the same easy result this time around.

The first set saw the Mounties start a little sluggish, making errors and allowing the Blue Devils to hang around in the set. With the set tied at 8-8 the Mounties went on a run to start pulling away, showing that they were the overall better team. Then, with a loss of concentration which led to several errors and miscommunications, the Mounties allowed seven straight points bring the set to 19-19. The Mounties couldn’t get out of their own way, handing UKC points on errors and allowing them to win the first set 26-24.

This seemed to spark some energy in the Mounties, as the second set started with a great pass that led to a hard cross-court kill by captain Kayla Vande Kemp. The raised level of play continued as the Mounties rushed out to a 7-1 lead. UKC was able to chip away at this lead throughout the set, getting the score within two—19-17. Captain Sydney Umlah then stepped up to the line and led her team to four straight points, including two service aces. Allowing only one point the rest of the set, the Mounties won 25-18.

The third set saw UKC push back as both teams played well, leading to the set being tied at 15-15. The next point, on a great set by Lauren Wentzell, Umlah pounded a kill into the open floor which energized her team and the fans. This sparked some momentum for the Mounties throughout the rest of the set, winning it 25-19.

The Mounties continued their momentum, controlling all aspects of the fourth set. Vande Kemp served for five straight points with three service aces. This put the Mounties on top and they never looked back, carrying a big lead throughout the set. The game ended on a service error by UKC, with the Mounties completing the comeback winning the fourth set 25-14.

There was a lot of great play and energy from the Mounties throughout the match. Positioning was a key to many plays, as UKC had trouble finding holes on the court for their hitters. Throughout the game the Mounties block seemed to intimidate UKC, leading to many errors. Lynne Aresenault helped lead the offense with nine kills but also chipped in on defense with nine digs. Umlah was a force at the net, recording nine kills as well as six blocks. Vande Kemp, while being a little quiet on offence, recorded a very impressive 20 digs and added three service aces. Madison Archibald and Wentzell recorded nine and 13 assists, respectively.

The win gives the Mounties eight wins in the season and sees them move back into a tie for third place in the ACAA. Currently sitting in a playoff position, this was an important victory late in the season. They will look to carry the momentum from this win into the week as they have three home games against Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture Thursday, Feb. 4, Univesité de Sainte Anne Saturday, Feb. 6 and Mount Saint Vincent Sunday, Feb. 7.

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