This weekend the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack came to town to play the University of Manitoba volleyball teams. The first-ranked men’s team dominated and won 3-0 on Friday and 3-0 on Saturday. The women had their losing streak extended after losing 3-1 on Friday and 3-1 on Saturday.
The top-ranked university volleyball team in the country made quick work of the Wolfpack on Friday, dispatching them in three straight sets. It was an absolutely dominant performance from the herd, as they out-hit, out-served, and pounded the Wolfpack into the ground.
Devren Dear was up to his usual self, as he smacked home a team-best 13 kills on the night. The Bisons only made 12 errors all night, and had a team hitting percentage of .338. The second set saw the Bisons hitting an impressive .619, where they had 14 team kills.
Saturday was more of the same for the Bisons, as they once again won 3-0. The win comes during Manitoba’s final regular season home game, a night where their eight seniors were honoured (Ken Rooney, Devren Dear, Luke Herr, Evan Jackson, Kevin Falconer, Caleb Hickok, Alex Strachan, and Josh Crellin).
“It’s a large crew,” Bisons head coach Garth Pischke said. “I thought it was a good ceremony, and they deserved it. There’s a lot of talent there, and a lot of good memories.”
Manitoba dominated the first set, a set that was plagued with service errors and aces. Thompson Rivers was able to put points on the board in large part to the Bisons’ eight service errors; the visitors made six themselves. Manitoba won the set 25-15 on a Caleb Hickok service ace, a fitting way to end the first set.
The Bisons continued their dominance in the second set, where they were able to score four straight points twice, and five straight points once within the set. Thompson Rivers never scored more than three straight points. The home side rolled on to another 25-15 set win.
The final set started off really competitive, with the teams exchanging points, but the Bisons had a 13-10 lead mid-way through the frame. The Bisons won the set 25-16, and the match 3-0.
“It’s nice we got lots of guys on the floor too, and they all contributed,” Pischke said. “We played pretty steady throughout, and I’m happy with it.”
After annihilating the Wolfpack 25-8 in the first set, the Bisons eventually lost on Friday 3-1. The rest of the match was a disaster for the herd, as they hit close to or negatively in every set after the first one for a total hitting percentage of .104. Sarah Klassen hammered home a team-best 10 kills for the Bisons, as well coming up with seven blocks.
Although both teams made a similar amount of errors, the Bisons were just unable to get it done offensively.
Saturday was more of the same for the Bisons, as they had their losing streak extended to eight games after a 3-1 loss.
Prior to the game, Manitoba honoured the team’s two seniors, with Caleigh Dobie and Klassen playing in their last regular season home game as Bisons.
“It was a pretty emotional match for the players,” head coach Jon Hykawy said. “Those two players have been here for five years, and I’ve only been with them for five months, but they’re two special players.”
The Bisons once again won the first set, but lost three straight for the second night in a row. Manitoba was beaten in almost every single team stat category, and was flat out beat by a good Thompson Rivers side.
“We competed hard,” Hykawy said. “They’ve got probably the best player in the country, and we tried to do whatever we could do to stop her, but when she comes up with 25 kills, it’s hard to come up on the winning side.”
The Bison volleyball teams go on the road to play the MacEwan Griffins in Edmonton on Feb. 10-11.