Holland College women's volleyball team wins first game at nationals

Charles Reid
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The Holland College Hurricanes women's volleyball team strummed a historic chord with a five-set victory over the College Of The Rockies (COTR) Avalanche Friday in Charlottetown.

It was the college's first win ever at a national volleyball championship.

Holland College, seeded eighth as the host team, took the contest 3-2 (18-25, 25-21, 22-25, 25-15, 15-10) over the fourth-seeded Avalanche and kept itself alive in the bronze medal hunt at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championship.

This after losing a nerves-filled, straight-set battle with the top-seeded Elans de Garneau on Thursday, which showed the 'Canes needed more out of left-side hitter Kendra Dawkins and middle Meg MacKinnon to win Friday.

They got just that.

Dawkins, named Holland College's player of the game, had eight kills and 12 digs against Thursday's one and five, respectively, while MacKinnon had five kills and four service aces versus zero and one, respectively, facing Garneau.

"We were pretty pumped for this game. In the first game, we were nervous (but) we found out we had to play harder and fight for it. That's what we did," said Dawkins, who added back-to-back aces of her own in the pivotal fifth set. "I was really prepared. I got my mind in the game. We moved on from (Thursday's loss) and got the win."

The 'Canes (1-1) play today, at 10 a.m., versus the Humber Hawks. The Briercrest Clippers (1-1) play at noon versus the King's Eagles.

Winners of those games play for the bronze medal at 6 p.m., followed by the gold medal game at 8 p.m.

'Canes captain Sydney Foy led all players with 18 kills and tallied 19 digs, while libero Dana Trainor had a game-high 28 digs and four aces. Middle Emily Caldwell had a game-high four blocks.

Ari Benwell, COTR player of the game, tallied 12 kills while Kelsey Thompson chipped in 10 kills and 21 digs. Alexa Koshman dug out 25.

Benwell virtually served the Avalanche to a first-set win by serving six straight points en route to 25-18 victory and a 1-0 set lead.

But 'the Canes recovered in a close, point-for-point second set until four straight points served up by Gracie Ferguson pushed the host squad to a 25-21 win.

Benwell did it again in the third with another six-point run to turn things COTR's way for a 25-22 victory.

The fourth was close until MacKinnon won five consecutive points to give the 'Canes a edge it wouldn't surrender in a 25-15 match-tying win.

Enter the fifth and midway through MacKinnon ran off three straight service points, then, after a COTR lost point, Dawkins blasted her two aces and COTR never recovered in the 'Canes 15-10 clincher.

"There is no secret. Think positively. There's nothing for us to lose." Kendra Dawkins, of the Holland College Hurricanes women's volleyball team, on playing for a chance to reach the bronze medal game today.

"We got into our heads and said we can win and rallied together as a team. We wanted to show our home school and our home province we (belonged)," said MacKinnon. "I got it into my head that it's now or never. (For today) we'll make a game plan, be well-rested, have a few meetings. Use this as a push and we're going to keep pushing."


Need to know

A look at the Holland College-College Of The Rockies (COTR) game from Friday at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association women's volleyball championship.

The Outcome - Holland College defeated COTR 3-2 (18-25, 25-21, 22-25, 25-15, 15-10).

Kills - COTR: Ari Benwell, 12, Kelsey Thompson, 10, Kennedy Koop, 8; Holland College: Sydney Foy, 18, Kendra Dawkins, 8, Olivia Dolphin, 6.

Digs - COTR: Alexa Koshman, 25, Kelsey Thompson, 21, Kendra Hainsworth, Adriel Goodman, 8; Holland College: Dana Trainor, 28 , Sydney Foy, 19, Kendra Dawkins, 12.

Service Aces - COTR: Adriel Goodman, 3, Kelsey Thompson, Taylor Foster, Kendra Hainsworth, 1; Holland College: Meg MacKinnon, Olivia Dolphin, 4, Sydney Foy, 3, Kendra Dawkins 2.

Service Errors - COTR: Ari Benwell, Kelsey Thompson, Adriel Goodman, 4; Holland College: Kendra Dawkins, 5, Meg MacKinnon, 3, Sydney Foy, Emily Caldwell, 2.

Blocks - COTR: Taylor Foster, Kennedy Koop, 3; Holland College: Emily Caldwell, 4, Gracie Ferguson, 1.


Today's Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association women's volleyball championship schedule:

10 a.m. - Holland College Hurricanes vs. Humber Hawks.

Noon - Briercrest Clippers vs. the King's University Eagles.

Seventh/eighth placement game

2 p.m. - Mount Saint Vincent Mystics vs. College Of The Rockies Avalanche.

Bronze-medal match

6 p.m. - 10 a.m. winner vs. noon winner

8 p.m. - Élans de Garneau vs. Vancouver Island University.

Organizations: Holland College, Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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