This weekend saw the University of Manitoba Bisons volleyball teams close out their regular season in Calgary. Both the men and women earned a split to end off the year. The fourth-ranked men’s team will look forward to the playoffs, with the aim of reaching the Canada West Final Four in Edmonton, while the women’s team will start to look forward to next year’s campaign.
The men opened up their weekend in Calgary with a 3-1 win. Usual suspect Devren Dear led the Bisons with 18 kills. Dear finished the regular season with 349 kills and averaged 4.47 kills per set, securing him as third-best in the country.
Despite the Bisons’ 3-1 win, the match was a very tight affair with the herd only outscoring Calgary 93-83.
On Saturday, the Dinos dropped the Bisons in three straight sets (25-18, 25-23, 25-23). Manitoba was right there with Calgary but was unable to find the killer instinct to grab a set victory. Scott Vercaigne led the Bisons on the night with 14 kills. Manitoba finished the year with the second-best hitting percentage in the Canada West, sitting at an impressive .316.
The herd had a very impressive 2015-16 campaign, finishing second in the Canada West with a 19-5 record. They play host to the Mount Royal Cougars next weekend, with the first game at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25 at Investors Group Athletic Centre.
Manitoba swept the season series against the Cougars, not dropping a single set and outscoring them 107-91.
The women’s volleyball team came into Friday’s matchup riding an 11-game losing streak, which was extended to 12 on Friday when the Dinos beat the Bisons 3-1 (25-18, 25-22, 22-25, 25-19).
Tori Studler led the line for the herd with 13 kills. Cassie Bujan had an impressive 17 digs, while Studler contributed 10 of her own.
The Bisons were able to snap their losing streak on Saturday with a hard-fought 3-2 victory (29-27, 25-27, 25-21, 20-25, 15-12). After a disappointing season, Manitoba was able to finish on a positive note with a good win.
Studler had 22 kills on the night – her best output of the season. She finished the year with 179 total kills, averaging 2.29 kills per set. Bujan also put on a marvelous performance with a season-high 23 digs. She finished the year with 192 digs, averaging 2.31 per set.
The Bison women have a very young squad and a lot to look forward to for next year. Finishing on a positive note shows that the team has the resolve to rebound from a woeful 2015-16 season in which they finished second-last in the Canada West with a 3-21 record. The only way is up for this team.