It was a tough weekend on the road for the Lakeland Rustlers men's volleyball team, who dropped to 9-9 following two losses to the Keyano Huskies.
Friday night, the Rustlers challenged the Huskies, despite losing the match in three sets. In the first set, the Huskies took an early 6-2 lead, but the Rustlers never got discouraged. In the end, that early four-point deficit would prove to be the difference maker, as Lakeland dropped the set 25-21. The Huskies scored the first three points of the third set, but the Rustlers weren't about to let things run away from them. The Rustlers would score eight of the next 12 points, on the way to taking an 8-7 lead, before extending their lead to 15-10. Following a timeout, strong serving by Keyano would allow them to score seven straight points, taking a 17-15 lead. The teams would go back and forth, until the Huskies took a 21-20 lead, on the way to a 25-20 set win. In the third set, the Rustlers capitalized on miscues and errors by the Huskies early on, as the jumped out to a 6-3 lead. The Huskies then found their stride, tying the set at 14, before defeating the Rustlers in the set 25-15 and match 3-0.
Alexei Walisser, a third-year outside hitter for the Rustlers, finished the match with 5 kills, while third-year setter Jose Arellano had 2 kills and 18 assists. Player of the game for the Rustlers was third-year libero JC Funez, who finished the match with 2 assists and three digs.
The Saturday afternoon rematch appeared to be all Huskies early on, as the Rustlers found themselves down 13-4 in the opening set. Lakeland found themselves trailing 18-9, but didn't go away easy, losing the set 25-21. The teams would battle early in the second set, with the Huskies taking a 7-6 lead early on. The Rustlers once again pushed the Huskies but were not able to score enough consecutive points when it mattered most, dropping the second set 25-21. Looking for their first set win of the weekend, the Rustlers appeared to run out of gas in the third. The Huskies took a 5-1 lead, and extended it to 16-7 and 22-14, on the way to the 25-15 win.
The Rustlers were led by first-year outside Ryan van Oosterwijk, with 7 kills, 7 digs, and 4 blocks, while third-year Matt Peck added 5 kills and 5 digs. Player of the game for the Rustlers was first-year setter Lane Blight, who finished the match with 17 assists and 4 digs.
The Rustlers return to the court next weekend in Lloydminster when they take on the Grande Prairie Wolves (3-13). The action is set to get underway at 8 pm Friday and 3 pm Saturday.