The Saskatchewan Huskies volleyball teams are hosting their final home games of the season this Friday and Saturday when they host the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBC-O) Heat.
The men and women are currently fighting to stay in a playoff spot, but for the four fifth-years, this is their last chance to play at home at the Physical Activity Centre (PAC).
“It’s going to be hard knowing on Saturday that that’s the last time that I’m going to compete in this gym,” Mackenzie Pek, who sets for the Huskies, said.
“I think it’s going by really quick, it seems like just yesterday we were here in the summer training and now we’re fighting for a playoff position,” Marguerite Ferguson, who hails from Port Coquitlam, B.C., added.
Eight teams make the Canada West playoffs, and the women are currently tied for fifth, but only four points separate seven teams battling for the final four spots. No current members have ever made playoffs, as their last appearance in the post season was during the 2002-03 season.
But finishing out the regular season is the sole focus.
“It’s hard for (playoffs) not to creep into your mind, it’s been a long time coming for us. We just try to focus on one game at a time because we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves,” fifth year Jenelle Sokoloski said.
“I think we’re focusing too much on that playoff spot, and not playing our game. I think this weekend we need to worry about playing Huskies volleyball and going out there and playing for each other,” Pek, who has played with Saskatchewan all five years, noted.
Troy Wiebe is the lone fifth-year member of the youthful men’s squad. The Huskies men’s team has six wins at home and only one on the road, making these final home games that much more valuable.
“Playing at home definitely helps, especially with our next weekends after that versus higher ranked teams and they’ll be pretty tough,” Wiebe said.
Everyone agreed, seniors weekend can add excitement – for better or for worse.
“It could distract, and effect their play negatively, but more often it does give that little bit of maybe super power, that little extra energy,” added women’s head coach Mark Dodds, who played for the Saskatchewan Huskies from 2002-06.
“The goal of an athlete is to go into every game feeling the same way and having the same mindset, but obviously its going to be in the back of my head. This is the last time playing in front of this crowd and I think that’ll give me an extra push and little bit more fire,” Pek agreed.
“Every match counts, ever set counts and realistically every point counts too,” Sokoloski said.
The Huskies will look to knock down the first point starting Friday at 6 p.m CT at the PAC.