The U of M Bisons women’s volleyball team will carry momentum into the holidays after sweeping inter-provincial rival Brandon University this weekend.
The Bisons opened the weekend with a 3-2 win over the Bobcats Friday.
Jocelyn Koswin powered the herd to victory with her team-high 18 kills. Tori Studler was also a force with 10 kills and a game-high 25 digs. Nikala Majewski led the visitors with a game-high 19 kills in the match.
Manitoba stormed out to a 12-0 lead to start the first set with the help of three service aces from Laura Findlay. Koswin was unstoppable, slamming down six kills as the Bisons stormed to a 25-10 set win.
Brandon was much stronger in the second set, where Majewski smacked down six kills.
The Bisons led 7-6 before stringing together seven straight points to make it 14-6.
The Bobcats responded by scoring 13 of the next 17 points, forcing Manitoba into a timeout.
The teams went back-and-forth from there, but service errors hurt the visitors and Manitoba won the set 27-25.
Brandon opened with four consecutive points in the third. The visitors hit at .472 per cent and claimed their first set victory of the game, 25-19, to force a fourth set.
Koswin smashed down three straight kills to open the fourth set and the Bisons took an early 4-0 lead. However, 10 attack errors and two service errors derailed the set for the home-team.
Brandon took advantage of the herd’s mistakes with a 25-22 set win, to force a deciding fifth set.
The Bobcats opened the final set with a service error and Koswin followed with back-to-back kills. Findlay powered down three kills in the deciding set, while Studler slammed the final ball to the ground for the 15-12 set win, and the match.
“There’s a lot of satisfaction there when it goes [to] a late match — that was like two and a half hours — so definitely puts us in a good place for tomorrow,” said Koswin.
The Bisons completed the weekend series sweep and beat the Bobcats 3-1 on Saturday, to enter the holidays at 5-7.
The Bisons were led by Studler’s 13 kills and Laura Hill’s 17 digs. Majewski dominated for the Bobcats once again, slamming down a game-high 17 kills.
The teams came out on the attack in the first set, with Brandon leading 16-14 at the technical timeout.
The Bisons regrouped during the break and returned to take 11 of the next 14 rallies for the 25-19 set win.
Then, down 13-9 in the second set, Brandon responded.
The Bobcats scored nine of the next 10 points to take the lead 18-14. Majewski slammed down five kills in the set, including a monster one to put the visitors up 24-23.
Brandon won the set 25-23 and tied the match.
The teams exchanged kill opportunities throughout the third frame, but Hill’s five kills were enough for the Bisons to win the close set 25-23
The teams battled once again in the fourth set.
Brandon strung together four points, to take a late 23-22 lead. Studler slammed down a kill for Manitoba to tie the set at 23, and then powered down another to force a tie at 24 points.
Manitoba’s next points were knocked down by Koswin and Findlay, and the home-side took the set 27-25.
“I knew that we needed a few strong points to get our motivation and everybody’s spirits up,” said Studler. “It worked in the end. That’s all I was thinking about.”
“We are 5-7 now, so we’re making our way back to even,” said Studler.
“We’ve got a strong second term and everybody’s looking great, everybody’s physical, we’re good to go. So I’m really excited.”
Following the holiday break, the Bisons will host the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack, Jan. 4 and 5. Tipoff for game one is 6 p.m. CST and 5 p.m. CST for game two.