After a very successful regular season campaign for the University of Manitoba men’s volleyball team, their playoffs came to a horrific end this past weekend. The Bisons fell in three sets (22-25, 19-25, 22-25) in the semi-finals on Friday against the Saskatchewan Huskies and had to play in the bronze medal game against Alberta to still have a chance at the CIS National Championships. Unfortunately, they were swept 3-0 (18-25, 17-25, 14-25) in that game as well.
The herd was out-served and out-played by Saskatchewan, as the Huskies had six service aces to the Bisons’ one. Devren Dear led the Bisons with 16 kills and Luke Herr managed six digs – a team best.
The first set started off fairly well for the Bisons, as they held a 21-18 lead at one point, but they allowed the Huskies to come back and take the set 25-22. Manitoba managed to open up every set with a good lead but were unable to continue that momentum for a set victory.
The Bisons were completely dominated in every single statistical category and just couldn’t solve the Huskies, who finished fifth in the Canada West. Ken Rooney, who has been reliable for the Bisons all year long, continued that trend by going seven for 12 at the net for a team-best .500 hitting percentage.
The Bisons as a whole had a good team hitting percentage, as they went .302, while the Huskies only had a .280 percentage.
After a disappointing loss on Friday, the Bisons were looking for a rebound to salvage their season and perhaps move on to the CIS National Championships. That was not the case, however, as they were swept by the first-ranked Alberta Golden Bears. Manitoba got beat out in three straight sets and it wasn’t even close. They were outscored 75-49 – something that didn’t happen often this season.
The Bisons only had 24 kills compared to the Bears’ 40. Adam DeJonckheere led the Bisons with 11. Manitoba finished an abysmal 19 of 71 hits, for a team hitting percentage of .070.
Kevin Falconer made an impact in this game, however, after not being much of a factor throughout this playoff run for the herd. He led the Bisons with six digs.
It wasn’t the ending to the season the Bisons would have hoped for, as they strung together a very good regular season campaign in which they finished second in the Canada West with an impressive 19-5 record. Alberta was unfortunately their weakness, as they were a combined 1-3 against the Golden Bears.