The Lakeland Rustlers Men's Volleyball team dropped both matches in their weekend series with the Concordia Thunder on the weekend. Friday night in Edmonton, the Rustlers lost in five sets (25-17, 25-23, 19-25, 16-25, 15-13), while Saturday night in Lloydminster, the Rustlers lost in four sets (25-16, 25-12, 24-26, 25-21).
The Rustlers dropped their first match of 2018 to the Thunder Friday night in what would be five hard-fought sets by both teams. The Rustlers were led by 1st-year outside Gavin Wourms with 14 kills and 2nd-year libero Matt Peck, who has spent the season playing as a hitter.
Saturday night in Lloydminster, the Thunder defeated the Rustlers in 4 sets (25-16, 25-12, 24-26, 25-21). The two teams had good rallies in the first set, but the Rustlers made mistakes that the Thunder were able to capitalize on, propelling the Thunder to a 25-16 win. The Thunder continued their strong play in the second, and while the Rustlers had good plays, they struggled to score. The Thunder took a 20-7 lead in the second set before going on to win 25-12. The teams would go back and forth for the first half of the third set with the Rustlers taking a 10-9 lead.
The Thunder responded with four straight points, forcing the Rustlers to call a timeout. The Rustlers responded, tying the game at 15, before taking a 17-15 lead. The Rustlers used that momentum and the home crowd to propel them to a 26-24 win. The fourth set was back and forth to start before the Thunder were able to build a 3 point lead. The Thunder extended their lead to 5, 19-14 before they would go on to win 25-21.
The Rustlers were led by second year outside Brayden Griffith with nine kills, while Peck added 8. Areliano had 24 assists for the Rustlers while Player of the Game JC Funez had 11 digs.
Rustlers Head Coach Taylor Dyer sees consistency as a key problem for his team. "We were terrible in the first two sets," Dyer said, "then we were good in the third and ok in the fourth, but we had a couple of mental lapses, and that is all it takes. It's a couple of points here and a couple of points there and then it is a 4 point lead, and that is the end of it, so consistency and understanding the flow of the game and understanding what our responsibilities are. We need to understand that if we want to be successful. It has to be every point, every point of every set."
The Rustlers will have their bye next weekend before they host the Keyano Huskies January 19th and 20th.