The University of Manitoba volleyball teams opened up their seasons at home against the Brandon University Bobcats this weekend. Both the men and women split their two-game series against the Bobcats.
After a couple of years mired in obscurity, the Bison women’s volleyball team looks primed for a playoff appearance this season. The return of Brittany Habing and Emily Erickson certainly help in this regard, and the Bisons looked good this weekend.
On Friday, the Bisons came out swinging, dropping the Bobcats in three straight sets. Second year right side hitter Kearley Abbott lead the herd with 11 kills, with fourth year left side hitter Tori Studler close behind smacking home 10 of her own.
Saturday shaped up a bit differently for the hometown herd, with the Bobcats clawing back and winning a close 3-2 match. Studler and Abbott led the Bisons in the kill department once again, smacking home 16 and 15, respectively. Cassie Bujan came up with a court-best 22 digs on the night. Two games in, Bujan is tied for third in the Canada West conference with 30 digs.
Manitoba will be looking to make a jump to first place on the road on Oct. 27-28 against the Calgary Dinos, who have only lost one set of the young season.
With a plethora of veterans leaving the Bisons this year, there are going to be some miscues and slip-ups, as seen this weekend against Brandon. Head coach Garth Pischke has his work cut out for him this season with plenty of rookies on the roster for Manitoba.
Friday’s performance was indicative of what the Bisons team of last year was capable of, with the herd beating the Bobcats in three straight sets. Manitoba managed to win the first two extended sets, and won a close third set 25-23. Adam DeJonckheere had 16 kills on the night, better than anyone on the court. DeJonckheere also came up with seven digs, tied for a Bison best.
Manitoba fell in three close sets on Saturday, a result to be expected with the inexperience on the team. One of the few players left behind from Manitoba’s dominant season a year ago, Scott Vercaigne came up with a team best 14 kills on the night. Vercaigne is tied for fourth in the Canada West for kills with 29 and has a .396 hitting percentage, good for fifth in the conference.
The Bison men’s team will also head out west to play the first-placed Calgary Dinos on Oct.27-28, fresh off a series sweep of the lowly Regina Cougars.