The University of Manitoba Bison volleyball teams wrapped up the first half of their regular season against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies over the weekend.
The 10th-ranked men split their weekend series, winning 3-1 on Friday and falling by the same score Saturday. The women had a weekend to forget, being swept by the Huskies losing 3-1 on Friday and 3-1 Saturday.
On Friday, the Bisons did not appear to show much compete, losing 3-1 to the Huskies. The first set didn’t start out so well for the Bisons, who were down by as much as 10-2 and 21-11. They made a bit of a comeback, but the Huskies took the set 25-20. In a bit of a strange second set, where the Bisons scored 18 straight points, they crushed the Huskies 25-7.
“We were fortunate there. Emily [Erickson] served the ball on a rope there and got them in a bad rotation,” said Bison head coach Ken Bentley. “That very rarely happens, whether you win the set 25-7, or 25-23 it counts for one set.”
The Bisons led the third set until the technical timeout, but the set tightened up after that, with the teams exchanging points. Ultimately the Huskies took it 25-20. The Huskies won the fourth and final set by 25-21. Kearley Abbott had a team best 12 kills but also had the most attack errors with 11. Abbott also had 16 digs, Cassie Bujan finished with 12.
“We had plenty of chances to win that match,” Bentley said. “It’s just a general disappointment, this is our last weekend, we’re at home, great opportunity to get above .500 we’ve had such a good term and this just wasn’t good enough today.”
Saturday was another tough outing for the herd, losing the opening set, bouncing back again to win the second but losing two straight to give the Huskies the sweep. Allison Alcock had a team best 10 kills, with sisters Josie and Kearley both right behind her with nine each. Bujan led the way with 13 digs, Brittany Habing had 10 of her own.
With the pair of losses, the Bisons are 5-7 heading into the December break and sit in ninth in the Canada West.
On Friday the men grabbed the only victory for a Bison volleyball team this weekend, wining 3-1. Manitoba squeaked out a first set victory 25-23 after a huge block by Dylan Sutherland to end the set. Sutherland, making only his third start at setter, finished the night with 31 assists and six digs, as well as a service ace.
“He served really well, he blocked really well, and he set really well too so I was happy with that,” said Bison head coach Garth Pischke.
Another tight second set finished 25-20 after the Bisons opened things up after the technical timeout. Manitoba tripped up in the third, leading 16-15 at the technical timeout before the Huskies pulled off a 25-21 set victory to stay alive.
“We let them back in it with hitting errors on our part and lack of concentration so you got to realize you can’t think of the score or the outcome because once we do that we’re in big trouble,” Pischke said. “We got to think of the next play and that’s it and can’t be running around with a big smile after the big play we just made it’s the next one that counts.”
Manitoba took the third set 25-22 after a laser bolt of a kill from Adam DeJonckheere ended the match, extending their win streak to three games. The fifth-year left-side hitter finished with 10 on the night.
On Saturday, the Bisons had their win streak snapped with a 3-1 loss. The Huskies took the first two sets, with Manitoba taking the third in an attempt to make a comeback. However, Saskatchewan did the same to the Bisons as Manitoba did to Saskatchewan the night prior and finished the herd off in the fourth. Manitoba now has a 5-7 record and sits in seventh in the Canada West.
The Bison volleyball teams open up the 2018 calendar year in Vancouver on Jan. 5-6 against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.