In the volleyball portion of the Duckworth Challenge, the University of Manitoba took a 2-0 lead after both the Bison men’s and women’s teams beat the University of Winnipeg Wesmen.
After the women’s soccer teams drew 0-0 on Oct. 8, the two schools were tied. The 27th edition of this challenge wraps up tomorrow with the basketball portion at Investors Group Athletic Centre.
In the first game and Duckworth Challenge portion of the volleyball games Thursday the Bisons (7-10) took out the Wesmen (1-16) 3-0.
Manitoba jumped out to a 16-11 lead at the technical timeout in the first set, the Wesmen crawled their way back to make it close, but left side hitter Josie Abbott smacked home the set winning kill. The score of the second set was a carbon copy of the first, with Manitoba again winning 25-17. Manitoba rolled on to win 25-19 in the third set to take the match win.
Bison right side Kearley Abbott finished with 14 kills and three Bisons finished with 10 or more digs, for a team total of 60.
“I felt we played clean, it’s a short week to turn around after such a hard weekend,” said Bison head coach Ken Bentley referring to last weekend against ninth ranked Trinity Western. “We can’t afford any slip ups, the teams that we’ve lost to we’ve been really competitive with. I mean the top teams in our conference, we’ve closed the gap to just millimetres, that’s where we are.”
The tenth-ranked Bisons (7-10) won their game over the ninth-ranked Wesmen (10-7) in four sets.
Following in the footsteps of the women, the men won set number one 25-17. The second set was significantly tighter, with no team able to establish a commanding lead. Bison setter Dylan Sutherland had some cheeky tips to earn a few points, and a Scott Vercaigne tip ended the set 27-25. Vercaigne finished with 16 kills on the night.
In the third set it was once again close, but Winnipeg pulled ahead 16-12 at the technical timeout. Manitoba clawed their way back to go up 21-20, forcing a Wesmen timeout. Winnipeg eventually forced a fourth set after winning 26-24.
The fourth set followed the trend of the entire match, with Bison Kevin Negus making an incredible diving play to keep the ball alive as well as a huge kill a few points later. Adam DeJonckheere fired home the match point, giving Manitoba the win. DeJonckheere finished with 13 kills, and seven digs.
“It’s a big game, anytime we play Winnipeg, Duckworth or not, it means something extra,” said Bison head coach Garth Pischke.
“It’s guys that these kids grew up with and playing with and playing against, and I’ve seen years where we’ve been ranked really high and they’ve been ranked low and the game is just as competitive.”
The Bisons and Wesmen resume niceties at Investors Group Athletic Centre on Saturday, the men play at 1:30 p.m. and the women at 3:15 p.m.