Manitoba loses Duckworth to Winnipeg despite early lead

The Duckworth Challenge trophy will remain at the University of Winnipeg for one more year.

Despite entering the week’s action up 1-0 thanks to a win by women’s soccer on Oct. 10, the U of M Bisons let the U of W Wesmen come back to win the challenge for the third straight year.

Thursday: Basketball

The U of W tied it, but the U of M took back the lead on Thursday night as the Wesmen won in women’s basketball while the Bisons won in men’s.

The evening’s action got started with the women, as the Wesmen thumped the herd 73-56 to tie the Duckworth Challenge 1-1.

Things started off tight in the first quarter, with the two sides going bucket-for-bucket until a Robyn Boulanger layup gave the U of W a lead it would not relinquish. The Wesmen had a six-point lead at 17-11 coming out of the first quarter and only built in the second, leading to a 35-28 lead at halftime.

The slow build continued in the third quarter, as every time the Bisons sank a shot the U of W came down and took back the lead. The U of M brought the Wesmen lead down to eight with a Keziah Brothers free throw, but Boulanger sank a three-pointer to build chasm back up.

The U of W had a 14-point lead heading into the fourth quarter at 57-43, and the U of M could not close the gap as the Wesmen cruised to a 73-56 win.

With the challenge now tied, the ball was passed to the men’s team, and they brought down the jam on the U of W with a 96-91 win to put the downtown rival on the ropes.

The herd and Wesmen went back-and-forth in the first half. The U of M had a slight edge at 42-38 at halftime, and put the U of W in a deeper hole at 65-54 heading into the fourth quarter.

The fourth, though, was not the last.

A pair of Keiran Zziwa free throws built the Bisons lead to 13 points before the U of W began the comeback. Narcisse Ambanza dropped 10 points for the Wesmen and his team cleaned up the rest, with a buzzer-beating layup by Spas Nikolov sending the game to overtime.

In extra time the Bisons meant business, taking an early lead which, despite the best efforts of the U of W, it never was able to wrest away. Dwight “DJ” Dixon knocked down a three-pointer to make it 93-91 U of M and those were the U of W’s last points, as the U of M picked up five to close out the game 96-91.

Friday: Volleyball

All it needed was one win, but the U of M could not even win a set Friday, as the Wesmen swept both Bisons volleyball clubs 3-0 to win the Duckworth Challenge.

The pain started with the women’s volleyball team which, despite early promise in the match, were outmatched by the Wesmen in a 3-0 loss.

In the first set, the U of M built a quick 3-1 lead, ending with a Light Uchechukwu kill, before the U of W stormed back with a four-point run to claim the lead. From there the advantage bounced back and forth like the ball itself until the U of W used a five-point run to claim the opening set win 25-22.

The second set was not even close, with the Wesmen coming out of the gate swinging. The U of W jumped out to an early 9-2 lead. The U of M responded, and the U of W fired back with a five-point run to make it 15-4, a lead the Bisons could not even up.

The Wesmen took the second set 25-14, and then closed out the match with a 25-16 third set win.

It all came down to the men, with the Duckworth tied 2-2, the Wesmen and Bisons men’s volleyball clubs took to the court.

Despite a scrappy third set, the Wesmen swept the herd off the floor with a 3-0 win to take the Duckworth Challenge.

The opening set started off with some promise for the herd. It jumped out to 3-1 and 7-4 leads before the U of W came back with a five-point run to snag a 9-7 lead. The U of M never led again, with the Wesmen taking the set 25-20.

Set two was much the same, with an early 4-0 lead by the U of M evaporating under a four-point run by the U of W. The U of M briefly took the lead back, but the U of W responded with pairs of points to build a gap the Bisons could not close.

The U of W took the set 25-20 and put the U of M on the edge.

It was in the third set where the U of M locked down and gave the U of W all it could handle. The lead bounced back and forth between the two clubs for most of the set, with each volley matched or exceed by one from the other side.

The U of M took a 25-24 lead and needed a single point to win the set, but the U of W came back and the two clubs battled until Daniel Thiessen scored back-to-back kills to end it.

The Wesmen took the set 29-27, the match 3-0 and the Duckworth trophy.