(FREDERICTON, NB) The UNB Reds rode the power game of fifth-year hitter Siobhan Fitzpatrick (Kelowna, BC) to a 3-1 win over the visiting Saint Mary's Huskies on Saturday.
Fitzpatrick registered a match-high 18 kills to lead the Reds. She also had 12 digs.
The Reds won with scores of 25-21, 25-17, 26-28 and 27-25.
Second-year Reds setter Paige Lehto (North Vancouver, BC) had 44 serve assists to earn Subway Player of the Game honours.
"It was exciting that we got to prove that what we've been working on in practice does work," said Lehto.
The Reds established a quick tempo early in the first set, building an 8-3 lead and forcing the Huskies to call time out.
UNB led 16-6 at the technical time out, but Saint Mary's rallied to within five before the home team won the first set 25-21.
The second set was close early on.
A pair of Adora Rooyakkers (Port Hawkesbury, NS) kills broke a 7-7 tie as the Reds went up 9-7. A 3-0 UNB run pushed that lead to 12-8, and the hosts led 16-11 at the time out, on route to the 25-17 win.
The Huskies showed signs of life in the third set.
While UNB led 16-9 at the time out, Saint Mary's roared back and took the third set 27-25.
The Huskies used their momentum to build an early 9-3 lead in the fourth set.
At the time out, Saint Mary's led 16-7 and were poised to force a deciding set.
Cue the UNB come back.
A Fitzpatrick kill tied the set 18-18, and the teams were tied again at 20, 22, 23 and 25.
Another Fitzpatrick kill put UNB up 26-25 and a Lehto block sealed the 27-25 win.
"We had that tough moment, we lost that third set, it was a close one," said Lehto. "But we got that fourth set and we proved that from that deficit, we can still play, we can be calm, we can be our team, we can do what we do in practice."
Renee Cleveland (Saint-Martin, NS) led the Huskies with 18 digs, while Bethany Smith (Moncton, NB) had 14 kills.
"We're just not playing very well right now, we've just got to keep with the process and hopefully things will turn around," said Huskies head coach Darren Russell.
The Huskies host the Reds in a re-match on Friday, at 7:00pm.
RECAP BY: Andy Campbell/UNB Athletics
PHOTOS BY: James West/for UNB Athletics