The Southwest Booster
Mortensen sets Canada West all-time kills record
Swift Current’s Dylan Mortensen etched his name into the record books on Saturday night in Winnipeg. The University of Saskatchewan Huskies outside hitter set the Canada West alltime record for career kills during a four-set win over the University of Winnipeg Wesmen.
“It was pretty surreal. It was a stranger first two sets. It was kind of sloppy in terms of our team play. I think it was maybe the first point of that third set. We get a good pass from Levi [Olson] our fifth-year and then fifthyear setter Jake [Rapin] and I was able to put the ball away which is always fun. Everybody was really excited and there was a surprising amount of Sask fans in the stands, so that was really nice. For coach to give us a timeout and to enjoy it was great,” he explained.
The 6’8’’ graduating Huskie had 17 kills in his final regular season match to finish his career with a 1,490 kills, surpassing the record of 1,482 from Tyler Schmidt of the Mount Royal University Cougars in 2019. He also set the Canada West record for points with 1,749.5.
“Yeah it was definitely a chance to look back. It was a goal of mine at the end of last season losing out in playoffs. Well this can only get better if we hit this milestone I guess. I was fortunate to be playing against Tyler Schmidt when he broke it a few years ago. To be up there with some awesome names is pretty cool and definitely something I’ll be looking back on in a few years.”
Olson retrieved the record-setting ball and Mortensen got it to his parents who were in the stands in Winnipeg.
“I gave it to them and they are going to take it back to Swift. I’m thinking of putting my total points and total kills and the date, maybe sign it and hold onto that for a while, a good little memento to have around the house. Winnipeg was kind enough to hand it over to us, that was really nice of them.”
Mortensen has come a long way since beginning his Huskie career as a redshirt freshman in 2016-17.
“It’s been trusting the process. I was hitting the weight room really hard in my redshirt year. I was definitely lacking in that department so I had a good group of friends that were constantly hitting the gym. Then just soaking in everything I could from my veterans when I was younger and just using everything I could from them to take it into each week and each year as it went on.
I think it’s important to never stop learning and my coaches preach that. I’m one of the older guys in the league for sure, but we’ve got a few of those guys on the team and all of those guys committed to trying new stuff everyday, so it makes it a lot of fun.”
Mortensen finished atop Canada West with 410 kills and 486.5 points this season. The Huskies finished fourth in Canada West with a 17-7 record despite a tumultuous offseason in which former coach Brian Gavlas was reinstated only to resign in July.
“It’s been awesome season. We’ve battled a lot of adversity again with some strange coaching things happening in the summer and
losing Skyler Varga, who is an awesome young player. It just shows the grit and determination of our team having a bunch of rookies step in and make massive contributions to our team. A couple of them should be rewarded with some allrookie team status in my opinion of sure.”
The Huskies will now host the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds (15-9) to open the playoffs on Friday in the Huskies first home playoff game since 2013.
“To host a playoff game is huge. A couple of people have said it’s the second time in 20 years or so that’s happened. One of our best seasons in a while, so it was really nice to get a road sweep
to end the season as we hadn’t done that this year yet. It was a good weekend to end the regular season on.”
The Huskies split two matches on the road against UBC in January. “They are a strong team. I think we can get them a bit with our serving if we go hot from the end line there. I think we are a really strong passing team no matter who’s at the other end line serving at us. I think if we stay in system we’ll have a chance. They are strong at every position, so it’s going to be a battle and they’re going to make us work for everything. But I’m looking forward to it and I think the character we have on our team is definitely what’s going to help us pull through.”