On Thursday night a group of Crusaders from Northwest Nazarene climbed Burnaby Mountain, throwing off the Simon Fraser Clan, and planting their flag in the UniverCity.
The Crusaders won three sets to one, doing it by a combined score of 98-80, and ending the Clan's meagre two-game winning streak. But, there is hope. Already, the Clan are halfway to last season's win total, and have already surpassed their 2012 campaign.
Progress has been, and continues to be made, but it takes time to develop an elite level program, no matter the sport.
Madeline Hait was player who stood out, amassing 16 kills, 5 block assists, and 2 solo blocks, though it should not come as a surprise as last week she was the conference's Defensive Player of the Week.
The Clan started off well, showing no fear of their thus far unbeaten opponents, giving the Crusaders everything they had, eventually losing the first set 25-21, before winning the second set 25-23.
"I thought we opened well tonight and did a good job to execute on our side of the court," said Gina Schmidt, manager of the Simon Fraser Clan. "We just need to be a bit faster at recognizing our opponents' adjustments and what they are giving us defensively and then respond accordingly."
But sides as good as the Crusaders will often win out, and in the third set, their experience and composure came to light. They withstood the Clan's efforts, and put in a solid performance to win the set 25-13, putting all the pressure on Simon Fraser. Ultimately, the Crusaders would win that set just as they had the first, 25-21.
"Our girls recognize that we're capable of competing with every team in the conference, and we will take lessons from tonight into another big game Saturday," Schmidt added.
The Clan became the second team to win a set over the nationally ranked Northwest Nazarene Crusaders this year, and the girls will look to build off this strong showing in their next match, when they host the Central Washington Wildcats on Saturday.
Kelsey Robinson and Amanda Renkema had 13 and 11 kills respectively, while Brooklynn Gould-Bradbury added in 32 assists. With the loss, the Clan fall to 3-3 in the Conference, with 12 matches left to go.
They return to the court at the Davies Complex on Saturday at 7:00 PM to face the Western Washington Wildcats.
Fullscreen slideshow coming soon...