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Gorman’s career night paces Griffins to dominant four-set win over WolfPack

Jason Hills
For MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON — Winning can be contagious, and for the second time this season, the MacEwan Griffins tasted victory.

The Griffins put together one of their best games of the year in a four-set win (25-20, 25-27, 25-19, 25-17) win over the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack, Friday night at the David Atkinson gymnasium.

Mitch Gorman and Jefferson Morrow led the Griffins with 15 kills each, while Alexei Walisser chipped in with 10 digs of his own in the victory. Gorman was also a force defensively, recording 16 digs to lead MacEwan.

Sam Flowerday led the Wolfpack with 13 kills in the loss as the Griffins improved to 2-17, while TRU fell to 8-11.

“That’s a career-high for me in both kills and digs. I just kept telling Mason to feed me, and he kept giving me the ball, and it was fun to just swing it out there and get points,” said Gorman.

“I wasn’t really thinking too much, I was just swinging and passing the ball as best I could out there.”

The Griffins fell down big early, trailing 7-1, forcing head coach Brad Poplawski to call a quick timeout.

Whatever was said during the timeout turned a switch for the Griffins as they went on a huge 19-6 run to take a 20-13 lead.

Gorman’s strong play at the service line helped spur a 7-0 run through that stretch, too.

“It felt like we played as a team the whole time, even when they got on a few streaks here and there. The most important thing was to make it tough on them to play volleyball. We used their block a lot of time, and we were able to generate a lot of points,” said Gorman.

“We beat them on the serve-pass game and as I kept on serving, I kept getting more aggressive and more comfortable. We were able to put more pressure on them at the service line and really build momentum.”

TRU looked much better in the second set leading the majority of the way. A big block from Carsten Bergeron tied the second set at 11-11, but TRU went on another run. An ace from Gorman tied it once again at 18-18, and that sparked the Griffins to eventually take a 24-21 lead, but somehow TRU would steal the second set away from the Griffins.

“We definitely didn’t want to lose that set the way we did, but I liked the way we bounced back. We kept the pressure on them over the next two sets.”

Despite the tough second set loss, that didn’t rattle the Griffins one bit. They put together a third set with an attacking percentage of .310, and they just continued to pour it on in the fourth and final set, giving the Wolfpack no chance to gain any sense of momentum or life back into the match.

“Our theme all year has been to compete every point, regardless of the score, and moments like tonight are why you compete all year,” said Walisser.

“We really battled back and I think we sucked the life out of them in that first set, and we were able to carry that momentum over into the other sets.”

The Griffins have two big power hitters in Walisser and Morrow, but with the emergence of Gorman this season, it’s given MacEwan a little different look offensively.
With Gorman’s career-best game against the Wolfpack, teams may now have to game plan for a MacEwan trifecta.

“Mitch played a hell of a game. That was huge. He really helped solidify our offence tonight. He was doing a great job passing and serving and he was all over the floor,” said Walisser.

“It’s only going to make us stronger. I know tomorrow, they’re going to have to come up with a new game plan, and it’s only going to open things up more for everybody else. Now we have to show up tomorrow, execute and everybody do our part to keep this ball rolling.”

The Griffins will wrap up their weekend series against Thompson Rivers on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the David Atkinson gymnasium.

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