Ooks Fall to Clippers

Medicine Hat, Alta. - The Opening game of the ACAC Conference Championship opened up with the home Briercrest Clippers and the visiting NAIT Ooks. The Game started with Briercrest Outside Hitter Levi Olsen started the game off with a big Ace. After this, the game settled into regular play back and forth. The Clippers had a hard time setting up a solid offense, with their passing game struggling early. Despite this, the Clippers hung right with the Ooks thanks to errors on the other side of the net. The unforced errors from NAIT had the Clippers hanging in and giving their offense time to wake up and overtake the lead. This seemed to help the Ooks who played to the level of competition elevating their game and taking a critical lead, up 24-22 the Clippers were forced to use a timeout. A service error from the Clippers saw the Ooks take the first set, 25-23.

The second set opened with a fury of points, with both teams scoring on offense as well as off blocks. Unforced Errors again haunted both teams as services from both sides failed to find the court repeatedly. Before the midway point of the second set, there were already 13 service errors. Middle Blocker Jordan Schnitzer from Briercrest was having a big game on defense already making 3 big blocks in the game. The Clippers up 12-10 forced NAIT to take a timeout. The Ooks still struggled coming out of the timeout with the Clippers taking more control of the set. Briercrest rode this momentum into a 6 point lead, up 20-14 forcing NAIT to take their second timeout. The timeout did nothing for the Ooks, it may have in fact solidified the Clippers Victory who closed out the set to tie the match winning 25-17.

The Ooks came out in the 3rd set hard after a  second set loss. They wanted to show that they could compete with the Clippers high powered offense. They jumped out to a quick two-point lead before serving the ball mid-net. The Clippers quickly battled back tying the game at 5 and starting to gain momentum again. NAIT battled back to gain composure but continued to trail slightly until tying it at 12 and overtaking the lead. NAIT needed Briercrest to continue to make errors to stay in the game, the Clippers started to clean up their game and took a 3 point lead. NAIT took a timeout in an attempt to settle their team down and work back into the game.  An ace helped the Ooks battled back to a tie game at 21, forcing the Clippers into Timeout. The Ooks had the first chance to take the set with the Clippers scoring 2 straight to give them a game-point 25-24. An ace from Clipper Mitch Erickson Sealed the set with a 26-24 victory and a 2 sets to 1 lead.

Heading into the 4th set the Ooks were in a must-win situation, hoping to prolong their shot at a nationals berth. The Ooks were swinging hard making contact high and fast on the attack. The Clippers seemed to be slow in getting up to block allowing the Ooks free swings. The Clippers attempted to swing the momentum back their way with a big block and an even bigger kill. This energized both sides as the level of play increased to the highest level of the day. The score 21-19 Clippers, they held a small advantage. With 2 big points, the Clippers extended their lead by two, leading to back to back NAIT timeouts. 2 points away from a first-round win, the Clippers team was energized on the bench. With a big block from Jordan Schnitzer, the Clippers emerged victorious 25-21 and 3-1 sets.