CALGARY - The Mount Royal Cougars blew a 2 set to 0 lead but managed to sneak by the Saskatchewan Huskies in the 5th set on Friday night on Kenyon Court (25-17, 25-15, 25-27, 22-25, 15-8).
The win came as one of the most important of the season for Mount Royal, who were on the outside of the playoff picture looking in before the match.
Tyler Schmidt led the way for the home squad, making 24 kills, while teammate Riley Friesen added 20 of his own. Andrew Nelson made 18 kills for the Huskies in the loss.
The Cougars took slight control of the back and fourth first set midway through when Tyler Schmidt picked up an incredible sixth kill with the score just 13-10.
Riley Friesen would become the Cougars most valuable player for the rest of the set, making four first round kills of his own to propel the Cougars to a commanding 21- 15 lead.
A few points later a Huskies service error would give the Cougars a 25-17 first set victory.
The Cougars picked up where they left off in the second set. Mount Royal would go up 11-4, winning a few points they had no business winning thanks to near-impossible digs from Samuel Brisbane to extend plays and big kills from Schmidt and Friesen past the arms of defenders.
The Cougars continued dominating the set, going up 17-7 after a jaw dropping one handed pass by Matt Saly was finished with a powerful kill from Schmidt.
An attacking error by the Huskies a few plays later would give Mount Royal a 25-15 second set victory.
The Huskies weren't going down easy in the third set, flying ahead to a 16-13 lead behind great play from Andrew Nelson.
However the Cougars came back strong, taking a few points in a row moments later to make the score 18-20, forcing a Huskies timeout.
Colin Fraser would make an attacking error on the next play before the Tyler Schmidt show continued. Chasing a ball past his own bench and near the first row of seats, Schmidt batted the ball to a teammate. The Cougars would eventually win the marathon of a point to tie the game at 20.
After trading service errors, the Cougars failed to return a Huskies tip, falling behind 22-21. Friesen would then convert his 15th kill of the game a point later to tie the game again.
With the score again tied at 23, Josh Kirkham would make his biggest block of the night, sending a Huskies' hit attempt onto the back paint, giving his team a match point.
After exchanging points, the Cougars would fail to make a block on a Huskies kill, knotting the game back up at 25.
After taking the next point, a Schmidt kill attempt would be knocked back into the court, giving the Huskies a 27-25 third set victory.
The two teams exchanged points and battled back and fourth until the Huskies won three straight points to go up 15-12 in the fourth set.
Mount Royal would make a comeback; winning five of the next seven points to tie the game back up at 17.
The Huskies contained Schmidt down the stretch, allowing Tyler Epp and Nelson to continue their strong play as the Huskies would go on to win the set 25-22.
The Cougars net front presence came up huge in the fifth set. Josh Kirkham made two kills in a three-point span before a Huskies attacking error put the Cougars up 6-3.
With the score 10-7, the Cougars would win two straight points thanks to a block from Sam Brisbane followed by a kill, going up five points and forcing a visiting team timeout.
Josh Kirkham would make a block on match point to seal the Cougars victory, winning the fifth set 15-8.
The two teams will play their most important game of the season to date tomorrow evening at 6 P.M. on Kenyon Court.