This weekend, the University of Manitoba volleyball teams hosted the UBC Thunderbirds. The men brought their winning streak to 12 with a sweep, while the women had their four-game winning streak snapped after getting losing both games.
Garth Pischke, head coach of the third-ranked Bison men’s volleyball team, made history on Saturday, winning his 1300th game. He now holds the North American all-time coaching match win record for men’s volleyball. Pischke holds a winning percentage of 78 per cent and has the most overall wins as a coach in U Sports history.
The men’s volleyball team were red-hot heading into this weekend, and continued that trend on Friday, winning in five sets over the Thunderbirds. It was a hard-fought battle, as the Bisons jumped out to a 2-0 set lead, but the Thunderbirds clawed their way back to make it 2-2 and had all the momentum heading into the fifth set. The Bisons managed a 15-12 third set victory, which gave them their 11th straight win.
Devren Dear had 20 kills on the evening, leading everyone on the court. UBC only made 10 errors in total, while the Bisons made a whopping 18. In the fourth set, the Thunderbirds made no errors at all, combined with their set-best 19 kills.
On Saturday, with head coach Pischke gunning for the history books, the Bisons came out with a 3-1 win. In another closely contested fight, the Bisons won the opening set 25-23. Then in a back-and-forth second set, with neither team having more than a two point lead, the Thunderbirds won 29-27. The Bisons won the next two sets though to take the 3-1 match victory.
The Bisons served a lot better in this match, with nine aces compared to UBC’s three. Dear had a season-high 27 kills on the night; Adam DeJonckheere smacked home 15 of his own. DeJonckheere has a .327 hitting percentage on the year, which is good enough for third in the Canada West. He has also cracked the top 20 in career kills in the Canada West with 981.
Dear is chasing history as well this season, as he is third in all-time Canada West points with 1352.5 in his five year career with the herd.
Riding a four-game win streak heading into this weekend, including a pair of wins over local rivals Winnipeg, the Bison women’s volleyball team were hoping to keep that momentum going.
The Bisons’ win streak was stalled when they took to the court against UBC. On Friday, the Bisons lost 3-1 (25-18, 21-25, 25-9, 25-16). Their 25-21 second set victory was their only set victory of the weekend. The Bisons were dominated in every aspect, with the ’Birds managing 14 service aces and a total team hitting percentage of .323.
Saturday was worse for the herd. They dropped all three sets against the Thunderbirds as UBC completed the weekend sweep. It was a good day individually for Kearley Abbott, however, as she led Manitoba in kills, digs, and aces. Abbott has the fifth-best hitting percentage in the Canada West, sitting at .276 on the year.
Despite a poor showing this weekend, the Bisons have shown vast improvement from last season. Currently they are sitting at a 6-8 record and in a playoff position in the conference.
Both Bison volleyball teams host the Calgary Dinos at the Investors Group Athletic Centre on Jan. 20-21.