February 20th, 2019

Win and you’re in

By Ryan McCracken on February 11, 2019.

NEWS PHOTO RYAN MCCRACKEN
Dexter Mackie of the Medicine Hat Rattlers hits a shot past River Thomas of the Old Broncos during an Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference men's volleyball match at the Snake Pit on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019.


rmccracken@medicinehatnews.com
@MHNMcCracken

The Medicine Hat Rattlers men’s volleyball team survived one heck of a scare on Saturday afternoon at the Snake Pit.

After taking the opening set, the Rattlers found themselves in tough against the winless Olds Broncos, but they managed to dig in their heels and pull out a five-set victory (25-21, 18-25, 26-24, 25-18, 15-13) to remain in control of their own playoff destiny.

“I think we kind of lost touch with what we needed to do,” said Rattlers middle Dexter Mackie, who had 10 kills and six digs in the win. “We had to kind of pull together as a team, communicate more and just figure things out, dig deeper to get through.”

The Rattlers still hold sole possession of the fourth and final playoff spot in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference with a 12-10 record, trailing the SAIT Trojans by two points and leading the Briercrest Clippers by two points with a pair of games left in the regular season. Those two games come in a home-and-home set against the Trojans this weekend, while Briercrest closes out their season with a pair of road games against the 4-18 Ambrose Lions.

“I think to make it into provincials we’ll have to win both games against SAIT,” said Mackie. “That puts us in a pretty tough spot because SAIT is a good team. We’ve really got to push this week at practice, we’ve got to do a lot of work.”

Outside hitter Alfred Dalevik says the Rattlers seemed to take their foot off the pedal after the first set, but they quickly learned their lesson after watching the 0-22 Broncos come alive with the faintest spark of hope.

“We kind of dropped it mentally in the second and third, which we shouldn’t have done,” said Dalevik. “It was good to see the guys come back strong after that.”

Dalevik led the attack with 13 kills and added seven digs, while KeAndre Evans added 12 kills and 12 digs. Edvard Nordlund and Nikola Sreckovic posted a team-high 13 digs apiece while Sreckovic added 43 assists.

Thundersky Walkingbear put the Broncos within two points of their first win of the season thanks to a 26-kill performance, while Davis Clarke dug out 11 and Mason Muller set up 42.

“I thought they played really well today,” Mackie said of the Broncos. “They’re definitely a different team from (Friday). They’re not the same as we saw earlier in the year either. They’ve gotten a lot better and they definitely want to come out and win.”

The Rattlers head to SAIT to face the Trojans on Friday at 8 p.m.

“Relying on other teams at this point is not what we want to be doing, so being in control of ourselves is awesome. We’ve just got to start focusing on SAIT,” said Dalevik. “We’ll put on a good show next week, that’s for sure.”

Women’s volleyball

The Medicine Hat Rattlers women’s volleyball team are officially in control of their own fate following a straight sets victory (25-15, 25-13, 25-20) over the Olds Broncos on Saturday afternoon at the Snake Pit.

The Rattlers now sit two points behind the SAIT Trojans for the fourth and final playoff berth in the ACAC South Division with an 11-11 record — but both of their final two games come this weekend against none other than SAIT.

Janelle Neyron powered both Medicine Hat’s attack and defence with 14 kills and eight digs, while Janessa Oelke set up 26.

Emily Zaleschuk and Megan Gleddie shared the team-high for Olds with seven kills apiece, while Clara Serrano dug out 10 and Natalya Hauser added eight assists.

The Rattlers head to SAIT to face the Trojans Friday at 6 p.m.

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