After a conference bye last weekend, the University of Manitoba volleyball teams headed out west to play their final regular season series against the Trinity Western Spartans. The men’s volleyball team were on the losing end of a sweep against the third-ranked Spartans, whilst the women continued their dreary 2017 by getting swept.
It was a rare off weekend for the Bisons, having suffered their first defeat since late October on Friday. The Bisons lost again on Saturday, this time by a score of 3-1.
The silver lining for the first-ranked Bisons is that because they won a set in Saturday’s defeat, they managed to finish first in the Canada West with a 21-3 record and will host the Canada West final four on Mar. 10-11.
All the sets were closely contested, as two of the top-ranked teams in Canada went toe-to-toe. Devren Dear finished with a combined 21 kills on the weekend; he finished the regular season with 309, averaging 3.96 a set – good enough for fourth in the conference.
Adam DeJonckheere had a .286 hitting percentage in both games against the Spartans; he had an overall hitting percentage of .308 on the year. DeJonckheere finished fifth in the Canada West in that category.
The Bison women’s volleyball team did not have a great second half of the season, losing their last 12 games of the year. This included not picking up a set victory against the third-ranked Spartans team.
Josie Abbott finished the weekend with 15 kills, while Tori Studler only finished with a combined eight, her lowest output of the season.
Second-year setter Sydney Booker finished the year with 786 assists, averaging 8.73 a set, finishing fourth in the Canada West. The play of rookie Kearley Abbott this season has to be commended, as she finished first for the Bisons in kills with 247 and first in kills per set with 2.66. Abbott will most likely be in the conversation on the Canada West all-rookie team, as well as the Bison female rookie of the year award.
The Bisons started out the season with a lot of promise, heading into the Christmas break sitting one game below .500. Then the wheels fell off a bit with the team only winning one game in the second half of the season, finishing the year 6-18. It is still an improvement from last season, when they finished 3-21 and were second last in the Canada West. There is lots to learn for this young team in the coming years.