The Medicine Hat College Rattlers men's volleyball team showed why they're currently ranked 12th in the CCAA, effortlessly outscoring the Lions en route to a straight-set victory in the Lions' Den. The Lions kept pace with Medicine Hat throughout most of the first set, but the strong attacking of Isak Helland-Hansen gave his Rattlers a lead that Ambrose couldn't make up. The first set ended at 25-20 for the Rattlers.
Set number two featured some terrific play from both teams, particularly defensive efforts by Rattlers rightside Joel Kotyk and Ambrose libero and POG Josh Rice. Unfortunately, the Lions' offensive woes prevented them from making an attempt at pulling ahead, and the set ended in a 25-18 loss. Keaton Strom and Graeson Bergen, scoring 13 and 6 kills respectively, were the standout hitters of the night for the Lions.
MHC's Isak Helland-Hansen provided the majority of his team's kills at 13, while middle Brodie Dolter tallied 8 kills of his own and proved to be one weapon too many for the Lions to handle. The story remained the same in the third set, as another 25-18 loss wrapped up the Lions' 11th straight loss to Medicine Hat. Men's bench boss Paul Armbruster said after the game, "In my mind we won the serve/pass battle, but we needed to be better at the net tonight. We needed to terminate more balls, but I'm happy with the rest of our game."
Anchoring his team's serve-receive and defense, Lions libero Josh Rice knows the Lions can compete with the Rattlers if they come to play. "I don't know if they can serve much harder than they did tonight and we passed pretty consistently, so I feel fairly confident going into tomorrow's game."
After tonight's game, Medicine Hat sits at 10-3, second place in the South. The Lions fall to 2-11. Tomorrow night in Medicine Hat Ambrose gets another crack at the Rattlers, so be sure to tune in on acactv.ca if you can't make it in person!
- Brent Ingram