The UNB Varsity Reds women's volleyball team handed the SMU Huskies their first loss in seven games, and their first loss to an AUS team this season, in front of over 200 people at the Richard J. CURRIE CENTER.
It was a close match between the two top-ranked teams in conference, but the Varsity Reds took the game 3-2 (22-25, 25-20, 19-25, 25-13, 16-14).
"We knew we could do it," said UNB head coach Jilliane Goulet. "It's just a matter of executing."
The first set started with the V-Reds and the Huskies trading point for point. A series of unforced errors put the Huskies ahead. UNB got back on track late in the set, but they couldn't catch up and SMU took the set 22-25.
The Varsity Reds took an early lead in the second set. The Huskies drew back to within one point, but UNB managed to hang to tie the game at one set apiece.
Unforced errors and some strong attacking from SMU got the best of the V-Reds in the third set (19-25). But UNB came back for the fourth set strong, establishing a good lead and maintaining it to take the set 25-13.
The deciding fifth set was neck-and-neck to the final point, but UNB would come out ahead and take that set 16-14 and with it the game.
Goulet says she was pleased to see her squad improve as the game progressed.
"It took us a while to wake up today. We wanted this game, and I think it made us tense in the beginning. And that's something we gotta work on."
Leading scoring for the Varsity Reds was Vanja Mitrovic with 18.5 points. Paige Paulsen posted 45 assists on the way to the win. Leading scoring for the Huskies was Rachel Windhorst with 19 points. Windhorst is currently the top-scorer in the AUS. Subway Player of the Game went to UNB's Lauren Joyce with 13 kills.
"We had some really good readers out there," Goulet added. "Claire [Richard] and [Paige] Nelmes had some really good reading on defence. Vic [Eadle] did a good job with some good reads down the line, too. I think having a solid defending reading crew out there made a difference as the game went on."
UNB now moves to a record of 6-5 on the season. SMU moves to a record of 8-4.
The Varsity Reds play next when they travel to Moncton on January 23.
The Huskies play next on January 24 when they host Cape Breton.