This weekend, the University of Manitoba Bison volleyball teams played host to the Calgary Dinos, each playing two game series. The third-ranked men’s team won 3-0 on Friday and 3-1 on Saturday. The women meanwhile, fell 3-2 on Friday and 3-0 on Saturday.
Coming into Friday’s match, the Dinos were on a five-game winning streak but the Bisons put that to a stop with a convincing 3-0 win. Manitoba jumped out to a quick 8-3 lead in the opening set, forcing the Dinos to take a timeout. The home side never really looked back as they cruised to a 25-15 first set victory.
In the second set, the Bisons continued to dominate in the early stages, but let the Dinos come back into the set later on. The Bisons managed to hold on for a 25-22 set win.
The third set was a seesaw affair, but the Bisons managed to come away with the set win and match victory after Ken Rooney sent a punishing kill to the court floor. Devren Dear finished with 15 kills and a .424 hitting percentage.
“[The game] was very solid on our part. Everybody was contributing out there,” head coach Garth Pischke said postgame. “Devren really shone, he’s really into it right now and playing some of his best volleyball.”
The Bisons continued to roll on Saturday, winning 3-0 fairly easily. The first two sets went the distance, but the Bisons won 28-26, and the Dinos won the second set by the same score. The Bisons then went on to win the next two to complete the sweep.
Dear had an astonshing 24 kills, his second best output this season. The herd have now won 13 games in a row and sit tied with the Trinity Western Spartans atop the Canada West.
On Friday, the Bisons surprised the seventh-ranked Dinos and came out to a 2-0 lead, but the Dinos came back to win 3-2. A slow start in the first set of the match had the Bisons in a 4-1 hole. The Bisons managed to storm back and led 16-11 at the technical timeout. The Bisons increased that five-point lead to seven and took the opening set 25-18.
The Bisons won the second set 25-18 after a long rally, where Courtney Kowk made a diving dig to keep the rally alive. Kearley Abbott finally hammered home the set-winning kill. She finished with a court-best 17 kills on the night.
After the Bisons jumped out to a 4-0 lead early in the third set, the Dinos battled back and took a 16-12 lead into the technical timeout. The Dinos had some excellent serving, and won the third set 25-21 to keep themselves alive. The Dinos then took the fourth set 25-22 to force a decisive fifth.
The Dinos won an intense fifth set 15-12 and in the end, the experienced Calgary squad proved too much for the young Bisons to handle.
“We just got a little undisciplined. We had easy plays to make and we forced the ball to the net,” head coach Jon Hykawy said postgame. “That match was there for us to take, we just didn’t grab it.”
On Saturday, the Bisons fell 3-0 to the Dinos to bring their losing streak to four games. Every single set was only won by two points, but the inexperience of the Bisons showed, as they succumbed to the seventh-ranked Dinos again. Abott had a great afternoon, as she finished with 11 kills, better than anyone on the court. The rookie continues to shine this season for the Bisons.
The Bison volleyball teams hit the highway to play provincial rivals the Brandon Bobcats on Jan. 28-29.