The Lakeland Rustlers Men's Volleyball team dropped two hard-fought matches to the Keyano Huskies in Lloydminster over the weekend, losing 3-0 Friday night and 3-2 Saturday afternoon.
The Rustlers challenged the Huskies in the first set Friday night, going back and forth for much of the set. In the end, the Huskies pulled through and won 25-23. The first set win gave the Huskies momentum heading into the second set that the Rustlers struggled to match. The Rustlers did their best to stay with the Huskies but lost the set 25-16. In the third set, the Rustlers ran out of gas and struggled to stay with the Huskies, who took the set 25-15.
The Rustlers were led by third year outside Alexei Walisser with nine kills, while third year libero Matt Peck added five kills and six digs. Third year setter Jose Arellano ran the Rustlers offense, finishing with 16 assists, one block, and one dig. Finishing the match with seven digs, Player of the Game for the Rustlers was third year libero JC Funez.
The Rustlers responded Saturday and pushed the Huskies in all five sets. In the first set, the Huskies took the lead early, and the Rustlers could never recover, as the Huskies took the set 25-19. It was another battle in the second set as the Rustlers closed the gap on the Huskies, but again could not find the momentum to win, dropping the set 25-21. In what would be a must win set for the Rustlers if they wanted to extend the match, the Rustlers came out and dominated the third set, winning convincingly 25-12.
After the win in the third set, the Rustlers carried that momentum into the fourth, in which they defeated the Huskies 25-19, forcing a deciding fifth set. In the fifth set, the Huskies opened up an early three-point lead that the Rustlers could never recover from, as the Huskies took the set 15-11 and the match 3-2.
Walisser led the way for the Rustlers with 18 kills, seven digs, and two blocks. Peck also had another strong game for the Rustlers, finishing with seven kills, 12 digs, and two service aces. Player of the Game for the Rustlers was third year outside Cole Sutherland with seven kills and five digs.
The Rustlers now sit 4th in the ACAC North Division with a 5-3 match record and 18-15 set record. With four games remaining in the first semester, the Kings Eagles (0-8) and Augustana Vikings (6-4).
The Rustlers will travel to Edmonton on Friday, November 16th to take on the Kings Eagles, with the rematch being Saturday, November 17th at 8 PM in Lloydminster. The Rustlers will then finish the first semester with two more games at home, taking on the Augustana Vikings on Friday, November 23rd and Saturday, November 24th, with both matches getting underway at 8 PM.