The University of Manitoba Bisons volleyball squads got their 2015-16 regular season started last weekend, taking on the Saskatchewan Huskies at Investors Group Athletic Centre. The men continued their momentum from the pre-season where they went 6-1, while the women weren’t able to finish off their cross-province rivals.
The fifth-ranked men’s squad showed they will be a force to be reckoned with this season, emerging with a dominant 3-0 win (25-16, 25-21, 25-22) on Friday and a come-from-behind 3-2 win (27-29, 23-25, 25-19, 25-21, 15-12) on Saturday.
It was a well-rounded performance from the herd, with five different players recording at least 10 kills over the two games. Left side hitters Adam DeJonckheere and Kevin Falconer led the way with 22 and 21 kills respectively. Fellow left side hitter Josh Goossen, who saw his first regular season action on Saturday, also impressed with 15 kills in the rematch.
The men got contributions from their entire lineup – especially in game two, when nine different players had at least three digs. This is a unit with a lot of depth, a fact that Bisons head coach Garth Pischke commented on post-game.
“Very good. Totally different than last year and that’s what really hurt us,” Pischke said.
“We had a couple injuries, and we didn’t really have guys with enough experience, but we’ve got some real quality guys who didn’t get on the floor [on Friday] and they’re going to be a really big part of this game.”
The women didn’t fare as well as their counterparts, as the Huskies came back in both contests to win 3-2 (20-25, 20-25, 25-16, 25-22, 15-10) on Friday and 3-2 (23-25, 30-28, 23-25, 25-18, 15-13) on Saturday.
The home squad gave up set leads of 2-0 in game one and 2-1 in game two.
Despite the losses, Manitoba did get strong play from their veterans. Middle hitter Jordana Milne led the team in kills on both nights, with 13 on Friday and 14 on Saturday, while libero Caleigh Dobie had a total of 41 digs over the weekend, and middle hitter Sarah Klassen had eight blocks.
Both units will now head to UBC to take on the Thunderbirds on Oct. 23 and 24. Game times are 8 and 7 p.m. for the women, and 9 and 8 p.m. for the men.