The Lakeland Rustlers Men's Volleyball team had their first home and home series of the season, taking on the NAIT Ooks. The Rustlers came into the weekend 2-0, after defeating the GPRC Wolves last weekend in their season opener, while the matchup with the Rustlers would be the first games of the regular season for the Ooks.
The Rustlers played host to the Ooks Friday night, in what would be an exciting home opener for Lakeland. The teams played five, close, hard-fought sets before the Rustlers came away with the 3-2 match win. The Rustlers took the first set 27-25, but the Ooks came out strong in the second set. The Rustlers battled back to cut into the Ooks lead, but could not overcome the early deficit and lost the set 25-22. Both the third and fourth sets were close, with each team taking a set. The Ooks won the third set 25-20, forcing the Rustlers to win the fourth set if they wanted to extend the match. The Rustlers weren't done yet and took the fourth set 25-22. The final set provided tons of action, much like the first four sets, and in the end, the Rustlers came away with the 15-10 set win and 3-2 match win.
The Rustlers were led by third year outside hitter Alexei Walisser, with 22 kills and 16 digs. Third year libero Matt Peck, who has played outside the past two seasons, added 11 kills and 19 digs. Third year setter Jose Arellano ran the offense, finishing with 37 assists. Peck was named Player of the Game for the Rustlers.
The two teams continued to battle Saturday night in Edmonton with the Ooks winning a close first set 28-26. The Ooks carried the momentum from the first set into the second, winning 25-21. The Rustlers weren't ready to be done yet and fought back to take the third set 25-16. In the fourth set, the Ooks were too much for the Rustlers, winning the set 25-17. With the win, the Ooks defeated the Rustlers 3 sets to 1.
The Rustlers were once again led by Walisser with 12 kills and five digs, while Peck and third year libero Jean Carlo Funez added nine digs each. Arellano had another solid game, finishing the match with 39 assists.
The Rustlers (3-1) have a bye next weekend before returning to the court November 2nd and 3rd as they take on the Concordia Thunder (0-2).