Tigers fall 3-0 to Reds

Photo courtesy of James West
Photo courtesy of James West

Source: Andy Campbell, UNB Athletics

(FREDERICTON, NB) The UNB Reds took down the country's top team, beating U SPORTS No. 1 ranked Dalhousie Tigers 3-0 on Friday night. 

The Reds won with scores of 25-23, 27-25 and 25-22. 

Siobhan Fitzpatrick (Kelowna, BC) had 13 kills and 16 digs to lead the Reds, while Victoria Eadle (Gallagher Ridge, NB) added 15 digs and 14 kills. 

Paige Lehto (North Vancouver, BC) served up a match high 38 assists to earn Subway Player of the Game honours. 

"It's what we came out here to do," said Lehto. "We had our plan, we stuck to it. Defence was key for us today, our blockers did such an amazing job. Our offence stuck to it. It just all fell together." 

The teams traded points in the early stages of the first set, with the Reds taking an 11-9 lead. 

The Tigers then went on a 4-0 run to go up 13-11. 

A Fitzpatrick ace, a big Robyn Anderson (Fernie, BC) kill and a huge Eadle block saw UNB move back into the lead, 15-13. 

At the technical time-out, the Reds led 16-14. 

When UNB pushed their lead to 19-16, Tigers head coach Rick Scott called time-out, but he didn't get the results he'd likely hoped for. 

The Reds continued to push, with another Fitzpatrick kill extending the lead to 22-18. 

Dal would push back, to 23-21 and 24-23, before a Fitzpatrick tip gave UNB 25-23 first set victory. 

The second set saw Dal begin to exercise a bit more of their talent. 

They took an early lead and held on to it, despite pushes by the Reds. 

Dal held leads of 7-5 and 10-8, before the Reds responded, building an 11-10 lead and pushing it to 12-11. 

At the technical time-out, the Reds led 16-14. 

An Eadle point ended a long rally as UNB surged ahead 20-17 and extended the lead to 22-17. 

With UNB up 24-21, the Tigers scored a pair, forcing a UNB time-out. 

The two sides were tied 25-25, before a Fitzpatrick kill delivered a 27-25 Reds win and a 2-0 lead. 

Riding some momentum, the Reds held early third set leads of 6-3 and 8-5. 

At the technical time-out, UNB was up 16-11. 

Eadle delivered a kill that gave the Reds a 19-14 lead and UNB pushed through, taking the set 25-22 and completing the upset. 

"It was a battle each set. They gave us a good run," said Lehto. "I think it was about us holding our own and keeping our mental game strong." 

Julie Moore (Halifax, NS) led the Tigers with 11 kills and 10 digs, while Alyssa Harding (Markham, ON) contributed 16 digs. 

"It's not a great feeling," said Moore, of the loss. "I think UNB was ready for us. They played a really tough game, and, definitely, we need to be better." 

"They used their offence really well. They swung super hard, tough serves, and they were very aggressive on defence. Their libero dug a lot of balls," said Moore. 

The win came in the final regular season home game for three Reds, including 5th year libero Maggie McLenahan (Oromocto, NB). 

"I have so many emotions, I can't even explain," she said. "I'm sad that it's my last home game, ever, but happy that we worked so hard to get here and we won with pride and passion." 

"It's an unreal feeling to have this kind of win, in my home gym, in my last game here," said Megan Kuciak (Ottawa, ON). "We've gone through ups and downs in my four years here, and it's nice to show everyone what we've had." 

The Tigers will wrap-up their regular season schedule with a visit to Moncton on Saturday. 

The Reds will now prepare for their first appearance in the Atlantic University Sport playoffs since 2016. 

UNB will face Acadia in the AUS semi-final round. 

Dal will host the AUS championship tournament, March 1-2.