The U of M women’s volleyball team returned to the court and welcomed 2019 with a spilt against the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack.
The Bisons kicked off the series with a 3-1 loss to the Wolfpack Friday at the Investors Group Athletic Centre.
Olga Savenchuk led the visitors with 25 kills, while Kearley Abbott returned to the Bisons lineup and slammed down a team-high 11 kills. Cassie Bujan kept balls alive for the herd and came up with a game-high 20 digs.
Kendra Finch and Savenchuk powered down two kills each early in the first set, and Savenchuk block lead to a 7-3 lead for the Wolfpack. The visitors did not look back, as Savenchuk connected on three more kills to take her squad to a 1-0 lead in the match.
Kearley and Josie Abbott powered Manitoba to a second set victory, combining for seven kills.
The Bisons dominated, and the set was capped off with a Kelsey Jordan block.
Errors plagued the home team in the third set.
Manitoba climbed to a 10-5 lead before the Wolfpack strung together eight straight points.
Five of the points on the visitors’ scoring run came off attack errors by the Bisons. Manitoba committed 13 attacking errors within the set and the visitors took advantage to win the tightly contested third set 29-27.
Savenchuk was dominant in the fourth frame and hit down nine kills. Kearley Abbott pounded down four kills in the set to help Manitoba keep pace with the Wolfpack.
However, Savenchuk and Thompson Rivers edged the Bisons 30-28 to take the set and the game.
The Bisons came back with a vengeance to beat the Wolfpack 3-1 Saturday.
Kearley Abbott powered the Bisons offence with a game-high 19 kills, while Bujan kept multiple points alive with 19 digs. Savenchuk led the visitors again with 17 kills in the match.
This was Kearley Abbott’s first weekend back from injury.
“It felt really good to get back on the court,” said Abbott. “Obviously, our team had to make adjustments throughout the first term and they did a good job and so it was nice to just get back on the court and get a win this weekend.”
Abbott said her team was the reason she was able to slam down so many kills in the match.
“Our middles did a really good job of bringing one blocker with them, so it gave us a good matchup,” said Abbott.
The two teams battled in a thrilling opening set, with the visitors needing 30 points to put the Bisons away 30-28.
The lead changed multiple times throughout the set and Manitoba led 24-22 late in the frame.
The home team could not shut the door and the Wolfpack recorded back-to-back kills to keep themselves alive.
Savenchuk ended the frame with a monster kill to give the visitors a 1-0 lead in the match.
Savenchuk finished the set with a set-high seven kills.
Manitoba brought power to the second set. Jocelyn Koswin and Kearley Abbott each put down four kills, while Tori Studler slammed down five.
The teams once again went blow for blow in the second frame, but Laura Findlay finished off the Wolfpack with a kill to help the Bisons take the set by a score of 25-22.
The herd played an almost flawless third set and committed just one error throughout the frame. Kearley Abbott connected on five kills in the set and her fourth was the point that ended a late 7-0 Thompson Rivers run.
Finch hit eight kills in the set for the Wolfpack, but it was not enough to overcome the stout Bisons offence. Manitoba won the third set 25-20.
Manitoba carried their momentum into the fourth set. Kearley Abbott hit down seven kills in the set, and Koswin ended the game with a big kill as Manitoba took the final set 25-21.
The Bisons return to the court during the Jan. 11-12 weekend when they host the UBC Okanagan Heat at Investors Group Athletic Centre. Tipoff for game one is at 7:45 p.m. CST and 5 p.m. CST for game two.