(FREDERICTON, NB) The UNB Reds finished the Atlantic University Sport league tournament on a winning note, scoring a 3-1 win over the Saint Mary's Huskies.
The Reds won with scores of 17-25, 25-23, 25-23, and 25-20.
Kristen Burns (Mississauga, ON) led the Reds with 15 kills and 20 digs, earning Subway Player of the Game honours.
"It feels good, we all worked really hard," said Burns. "In video this morning, we took a look at them and knew what we had to do on our side of the court."
The Huskies exerted pressure early, building a 3-0 lead and extending it to 8-4 in the opening set.
The Reds trimmed the lead to 10-8, but the visitors were up 16-12 at the technical time-out.
Effective blocking helped the Huskies push their lead to 23-17, prompting a Reds time-out.
Saint Mary's won the first set 25-17.
The second set was much tighter.
The Reds won a long rally to tie the score 5-5.
Tied 11-11, the Huskies won an even longer rally to take a 12-11 lead, on route to a 16-12 lead at the technical time-out.
Strong play at the net, both hitting and blocking, helped the Reds climb back in, closing the gap to 19-17, but SMU quickly pulled away again, to 21-18.
With Burns serving, the Reds tied the set 21-21.
The Reds went up 22-21 and won the second set 25-23.
In the third set, the Huskies went ahead 10-5 and then watched as the Reds closed to within one at 11-10. The Huskies called time-out.
Saint Mary's led 16-13 at the technical time-out.
Cue another Reds rally, as the home team pulled ahead 19-18.
Solid blocking by Robyn Anderson (Jaffray, BC) put the home team in front 23-20.
The Reds won the set 25-23, taking a two-sets-to-one lead.
The fourth set saw the teams tied 3-3 before the Huskies swung five straight points to take an 8-3 lead.
UNB closed the gap to 8-7 and then tied it 10-10.
The Huskies took a 16-14 lead into the technical time-out, only to watch the Reds rally again.
The home team tied the set 20-20, then went ahead 23-20 on some strong serving from Bailey Lemieux (Fredericton, NB), who closed out the 25-20 fourth set win and the 3-1 match victory.
"We still have to work on a lot of things, our technical skills and get focused for January," said Burns.
Lemieux helped the Reds cause with 17 kills and 17 digs, while Victoria Eadle (Gallagher Ridge, NB) added 10 kills and 16 digs.
Olivia Bell (Lahave, NS) led the Huskies, recording 16 kills and 20 digs, while Anna Watt (Calgary, AB) had 19 digs.
"I said before the game that UNB was probably going to be our toughest match," said Huskies head coach Darren Russell. "Burns has been swinging so well, being a lefty on the right. We're tired, we're injured and we just didn't adjust fast enough or well enough. Hats off, UNB played an amazing game."
The Huskies and now 6-and-3, while the Reds improve to 4-and-5.
Both teams now go into their Christmas break.
AUS play resumes January 10th, when these same two teams will meet again, once again at UNB's Richard J. Currie Center.
RECAP BY: Andy Campbell/UNB Athletics
PHOTOS BY: James West/for UNB Athletics