The Lakeland Rustlers Men's Volleyball team split their weekend series with the Concordia Thunder, as each team won on their home court. Friday night in Lloydminster, the Rustlers won in three sets (25-19, 25-23, 25-20), while Saturday night in Edmonton, the Thunder won in three sets (25-13, 25-18, 25-18).
The two teams went back and forth to start the first set Friday night, trading points early on. The Rustlers eventually opened up a 16-11 lead, which they extended to 19-12. The Thunder were not able to overtake the Rustlers, as the Rustlers won the set 25-19. The teams were once again back and forth at the start of the second set, before the Thunder built at 18-14 lead. The Rustlers used strong serving and attacking from different positions to get them back into the game and tie the score at 22.
The Rustlers had the momentum and used it to carry them to a 25-23 win in the second set. The Rustlers momentum carried over into the third set as they opened up a 5-1 lead. The Rustlers built an 18-13 lead, but the Thunder fought back to cut the Rustlers lead to 1, 18-17. The Rustlers were able to regain control of the set, winning 25-20.
Player of the Game for the Rustlers was #1, Matt Peck, who had seven kills and 11 digs. The Rustlers also got ten kills and seven digs from second year outside Brayden Griffith and second year setter Jose Areliano added 30 assists and ten digs.
Saturday night in Edmonton, the Thunder rebounded from their Friday night loss and defeated the Rustlers in three sets. The Rustlers struggled in the first set, only scoring 13 points, and while the Rustlers improved in sets two and three, the Thunder were too strong on their home court.
Griffith had ten kills for the Rustlers while Peck added three kills and eight digs and Areliano had 15 assists. Player of the Game for the Rustlers was #7, Mitch Keber.
Second year libero Matt Peck sees where his team needs to improve. "We need to put teams away two nights in a row," Peck said. "It is one thing to put them away Friday night, but it is another thing to put together a full weekend of volleyball and get that sweep. Everyone has experience on the court now, so there are no real excuses anymore for anyone to be inconsistent."
Griffith sees communication on the court as another area that makes a big difference for the Rustlers. "I have always liked to be a loud guy on the court," Griffith said, "it just makes volleyball more fun to me. When we are loud, we are a different team."
Rustlers Head Coach Taylor Dyer sees consistency as the key for his team. "We have high expectations of ourselves and I have high expectations of these guys," Dyer said, "so when we aren't doing what we do well all the time, that's what frustrates me. We try to let them understand their potential and how good they can be. We look back to those matches when they were playing at their highest level and try to make them realize what they did that night that allowed them to play that way and then do that night in and night out."
The Rustlers will have their bye next weekend before they travel to Fort McMurray November 17th and 18th to take on the Keyano Huskies.