The U of M Bisons volleyball teams might want to check for signs of rust.
With the holidays over, the Bisons volleyball clubs were back on the hardwood over the weekend, playing host to the University of Calgary Dinos. While the men were able to come away from the weekend with a tally in the win column, the women were no so lucky.
The Bisons men’s volleyball team got 2020 started off right Friday, finishing a back-and-forth contest with the U of C in impressive fashion for a 3-2 win.
In the opening set the two clubs traded blows before the U of C gained a slight edge to claim the win 25-23. The U of M responded in kind in the second set with a 25-23 win of its own to tie the match at 1-1.
In the third set the Dinos showed some bite. After a Darian Koskie ace gave the U of M a 9-5 lead, the U of C used a four-point run to close the gap. Kevin Negus snagged back the lead for the Bisons, but a five-point run by the Dinos opened the gap wide.
The U of C took the third set 25-21 to put the U of M on the ropes. In response, the herd again turned the U of C score against the Dinos, with a 25-21 fourth set win to force a deciding fifth set, where the U of M took control.
After a kill by Hamish Hazelden gave the U of C a 3-2 lead, the herd rattled off a massive eight-point run to take a convincing 10-3 lead. From there it matched each U of C point to claim the 15-7 set win and the match 3-2.
Whatever momentum the U of M thought it built Friday evaporated under a 3-0 thrashing by the Dinos Saturday to split the weekend series.
After a rough 25-22 opening set loss, the Bisons had perhaps the best performance of the game in the second set.
An Owen Schwartz attacking error gave the U of C a 2-0 lead early, but the U of M responded with a four-point run and a three-point run to wrestle away the lead at 7-3.
The Dinos responded with a three-point run to cut the deficit to one, and were then able to take back the lead. With the U of C up 22-18, the U of M rattled off four straight to tie the set 22-22.
This success was undercut, as the U of C took back the lead and won the set 25-23.
In the final set the U of C took the match with a 25-21 win, sweeping the Bisons off the floor. Both clubs now sit with identical 6-6 records, tied for sixth in the conference.
While the men enjoyed victory to open the new decade, the women tasted only defeat at the hands of the Dinos. The trouble got started Friday, when the herd was starched 3-1 to open the weekend.
The opening set was a bad omen, as the U of C used three-point and eight-point runs to open a 13-4 gap early in Friday’s action. The U of M responded with a pair of four-point runs to close the gap to 15-12, but barely got closer en route to a lopsided 25-16 set one loss.
The U of M’s lone set win of the match came in the second set, as it used a five-point run to close out a 25-21 win, but it could not capitalize on the momentum.
The U of C took the next two sets 26-24 and 27-25 to cap off a 3-1 match win.
Game two of the weekend was little better, as the herd battled back after a rough first set and forced a fourth, yet fell by double digits in another 3-1 loss to the U of C Saturday.
Despite early promise, set one was better left forgotten for Manitoba.
The Dinos struck first and used a four-point run to claim an early 5-1 lead before the Bisons responded. An Autumn Davidson service error kicked off a five-point run for the U of M, getting the club ahead 6-5.
This was the last time the U of M led in the first set, with the Dinos using six multi-point sequences to take the set, capped off by a five-point run to win 25-15.
The U of C took set two by a 25-22 score, then the U of M was able to strike back in set three.
Kearley Abbott brought down the ball to open the set, and after a service error had the set tied, the U of M went on a six-point run for a 7-1 lead. The U of C closed the gap to three at 10-7, but the herd strung together five straight points to widen the lead again to 15-7.
The Dinos stayed in the game, drawing close at 19-16 and 21-17 before the home side could put its opponent away 25-19.
Yet, like Friday, there was no comeback. The U of C took the final set 25-15 to claim the match and weekend.
With the losses over the weekend, the U of M drops to 2-12 on the season and sits tied for last in the conference, joined by the Brandon University Bobcats and University of Regina Cougars.
The herd now heads out on the road, as the men and women take a trip to Kamloops, B.C., to take on the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack Jan. 10 and 11.