The Lakeland Rustlers Women's Volleyball Team faced a tough test over the weekend, taking on The King's University Eagles. Heading into the weekend, the Rustlers were 8-0, top of the ACAC North Division and ranked #2 nationally. The Eagles were 8-0, tied atop the ACAC North Division and ranked #8 nationally.
Friday night, the teams faced off in Edmonton in what would be a long, hard-fought match. The first set was close, with the teams exchanging points early on. The Rustlers forced the Eagles into some mistakes that they could capitalize on, taking the set 25-20. In the second set, the teams would once again go back and forth; trading points the entire set. The Rustlers were able to score consecutive points when it mattered most, taking the second set 28-26. The Eagles came out strong to start the third set, taking a 6-0 lead to start the set. The Rustlers, however, didn't panic and came back to tie the set, before going back and forth for the rest of the set. This time, it was the Eagles who would score two consecutive points when it mattered most, taking the set 26-24 and forcing a fourth set. The match continued to be an exciting one in the fourth sets, with the teams continuing to go back and forth. The Eagles strung together a series of points that the Rustlers could not over come, taking the set 25-19. In the fifth and final set, the Eagles took an early lead, but the Rustlers clawed back to take the set 15-11 and the match 3-2.
The Rustlers were led by fifth year outside hitters with Shelby Becker and Ahnika Kuse with 19 kills, 19 digs, and 18 kills, 21 digs respectively. Fifth year setter and 2017-2018 CCAA All-Canadian Rae Sigurdson continued to be impressive with 48 assists, four digs, and two kills. Player of the Game for the Rustlers was second year libero Hailee McKenna with 28 digs and two assists.
The teams faced off Saturday night in Lloydminster in what was expected to be an exciting rematch. The hard-fought, competitive nature from Friday night returned quickly Saturday night, with the teams going back and forth in the first set. The Rustlers were able to take the first set on their home court 25-21. In the second set, the Rustlers struggled, while the Eagles seemed to be firing on all cylinders. The Eagles controlled the play and won convincingly 25-9. The Rustlers play improved in the third set, but the Eagles still controlled the set, winning 25-19. In what would be a must win set for the Rustlers, the teams went back and forth early on in the fourth. The Eagles, however, had all the momentum, taking the set 25-22 and the match 3-1, handing the Rustlers their first match loss of the season. Stats for Saturday's match were not available at the time of this article. Player of the Game for the Rustlers was Shelby Becker.
The Rustlers (9-1) play their final games of the semester next weekend against the University of Alberta Augustana Vikings (7-3) in what should be another exciting match. The Rustlers host the Vikings on both Friday and Saturday, with the matches set to get underway at 6 pm.