With the start of a brand new year, the University of Alberta Golden Bears and Pandas teams are ready to resume play after their holiday break.
Here is a preview of the first set of games the U of A sport teams will play in 2020. The first teams to play in the new year will be the Pandas Hockey, Golden Bears Hockey, and Pandas Volleyball teams.
All three teams playing in the first weekend of 2020 hope to win their pair of conference games.
Pandas Hockey Conference vs. Saskatchewan Huskies
The Pandas Hockey Team will face-off against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies in their first conference set of games in 2020 on January 3 and 4 at home in Clare Drake Arena.
The Huskies currently sit at an 8-4 record with the Pandas at 9-6. Both teams are tied in terms of points for second place overall in the Canada West division. Both teams sit four points back from the division leader, the University of Calgary Dinos.
The Pandas will enter Friday’s game coming off a five-win streak. The Pandas currently have three of the five top Canada West ranked players in terms of points — including Alex Poznikoff (first place), Autumn MacDougall (second place), and rookie Madison Willan (fifth place) — while Saskatchewan only has one. Poznikoff, the reigning U SPORTS Player of the Year recipient, leads U SPORTS with 21 points in 16 games.
Golden Bears Hockey Conference vs. Saskatchewan Huskies
The Golden Bears will be looking for a pair of wins while away from home against the Saskatchewan Huskies on January 3 and 4.
The Golden Bears have only lost two of their 16 games this season securing their hold on first place in Canada West. The team hopes to continue their three-game win streak and extend its lead over their nearest challengers tied for second place: the Dinos and Huskies who hold an 11-3 record.
This pair of games will mark the first time the Golden Bears will return to play at the Huskies arena since beating them in the 2019 Canada West final.
The men’s hockey team representing the U of A has won six of their last seven meetings with the Huskies, including a pair of conferences at home this season.
Pandas Volleyball vs. Brandon University Bobcats
The Pandas Volleyball squad are eyeing a pair of wins in their first conference of the New Year away from home in Brandon.
The U of A team hopes to continue its win-streak against the Bobcats as they have won the last nine times they faced off with them.
The U of A’s outside hitter Kory White, who leads Canada West in kills per set, will face off against Brandon’s libero Rayvn Wiebe who places four slots behind White in the standings. White has a total of 234 kills while Wiebe has 161.
In terms of digs, the Bobcat’s left back Caitlin Le leads Canada West with 226. The Pandas have left back Jenae Eisler and outside hitter Julia Zonneveld who have 176 and 164 digs respectively — placing them in third and fourth position in terms of total digs within Canada West.
The Pandas finished 2019 with a pair of wins at home against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. The win brought them to eighth place in Canada, marking the first time the team has placed in the top 10 this season.