The UNB Varsity Reds women's volleyball team fought until the bitter end, but fell 2-3 (25-16, 25-14, 26-28, 14-25, 14-16) to the Memorial Sea-Hawks in the second of this weekend's two match-ups at the Richard J. CURRIE CENTER.
The Varsity Reds won yesterday's game in straight sets, and for the first two sets of today's game, it looked they were set to do the same.
In the third set, though, MUN came in reinvigorated, and started to pull ahead. UNB countered with some strong play of their own, including some great serving from veteran Paige Nelmes, but they couldn't take back momentum and the Sea-Hawks took the set 28-26.
The Sea-Hawks went on to dominate the fourth set, posting a decisive 25-14 win. They took the lead early, and the V-Reds couldn't seem to get themselves going in response.
"It's such a game of momentum, and once our momentum was gone we had to fight to get it back," UNB head coach Jilliane Goulet said. "And we never really did."
The Varsity Reds rallied hard in the fifth set, but the Sea-Hawks managed to stay just enough ahead in the points to take it 16-14 and with that win the game. This is their second win this season.
Goulet says the V-Reds, who are currently ranked second in the AUS, will take this game as an opportunity to learn and improve for the rest of the season.
"Our serve-receive took a downward trend as the game went along and it affected the success we were having at the net early on," she said.
"They also stopped making as many unforced errors and made us earn our points which we didn't do a good enough job of."
Leading scoring for the Varsity Reds was Vanja Mitrovic with 20.5 points including 17 kills. Paige Paulsen was also strong on the court with 40 assists. Leading scoring for the Sea-Hawks was Jill Snow with 23.5 points including 18 kills.
Goulet says UNB was also pleased to have Nelmes back on the court this weekend. Nelmes had an injury in exhibition play that caused her to sit out the first part of the season.
"She's a difference-maker on our team and she has been since she came here," Goulet said.
"She's a little rusty from being off first semester, but once she shakes the rust off she's going to be again a fierce competitor with us."
The Varsity Reds play next on Saturday, January 18, when they host Saint Mary's at 7pm.
The Sea-Hawks play next on Saturday, January 24, when they host Dalhousie at 6pm.