The U of M Bisons men’s volleyball team entered the holiday break on a disappointing note after Manitoba was swept aside in back-to-back 3-0 losses at home to the No. 4 Brandon University Bobcats.
The Bisons lost game one of the weekend, but stayed close with the fourth-ranked team in the nation.
“After the second set we lost, coach came in the huddle and said we were playing great, showed us the stats even,” said Bisons left-side, Dustin Spiring.
“I think we were hitting .412 but Brandon was hitting .500, so we were right there, we just didn’t play any defence.”
The teams attacked heavily in the first set, but Elliott Viles palmed six kills to the floor to help Brandon win.
Manitoba could only muster two consecutive points within the set, while the visitors put together 3-0 scoring runs twice to expand their lead.
With the score 14-13, Viles pounded down two kills and Robin Baghdady added another to put the Bobcats up 17-13.
The teams exchanged points from there and Brandon held on to win the set 25-21.
The teams continued to abandon defence and rely on the attack in the second set.
Brendan Warren made a huge block early in the set and put down three kills for Manitoba. The Bobcats attack was too much, and Baghdady killed five balls in the set, winning 25-20.
Manitoba struggled in the third and final set, hitting at .158 per cent. Brandon’s attack remained strong, taking the final set 25-16.
The Bobcats made quick work of the Bisons Saturday, winning 3-0 to sweep the match and the weekend series.
Brandon had stellar performances all over the court, but Mason Metcalf led the team with 12 kills.
Baghdady also smacked down 10 kills and served up five aces in the match.
Manitoba could not get much going, but Ben Carleton stood out for the home team. Carleton came up with four digs and four kills.
“I was really happy with the way Ben Carleton played,” said Bisons head coach Garth Pischke.
“He hasn’t been getting much time this year because he’s just a young kid, and he showed some signs of good things out there, things we need on the court.”
Manitoba put up a fight, but the Brandon offence was too much in the first set.
The Bobcat’s offence spread the ball around with Baghdady putting four balls to the floor, Metcalf slamming three down and Viles pounding down three more. Kevin Negus connected on three kills for the herd, but the Bisons lost 25-21 in a close first set.
Metcalf continued to pound the ball in the second set where he connected on six of his 12 kills. Brandon had a hit percentage of .520, while Manitoba’s hitting percentage was in the negatives. The visitors steam rolled their way to a 25-8 second-set win.
Carleton flashed power in the third set. He smacked a ball off a Bobcats’ shoulder, which ricocheted all the way to the opposing wall of the gym.
The Bobcats offence was still too much for the herd however, as Baghdady served up four aces in one service turn to help the visitors to a 25-15 set three victory.
Following the holiday break and conference bye, the Bisons will host the UBC Okanagan Heat. Game one is Jan. 11 at 6 p.m. CST, and game two is the next day at 6:45 p.m. CST.