Bisons stampede Cascades at home

The herd’s playoff hopes still alive after weekend victories

The U of M men’s volleyball team faced the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades
(UFV) last weekend.

Going into the series against UFV, Manitoba was 7-13, but ready to make up ground in the
Canada West (CanWest) conference standings.

The team was also looking to redeem a disappointing sweep at the hands of the University
of Winnipeg Wesmen (U of W) on Feb. 2 and Feb. 4 with a couple of wins against the last
place Cascades.

On Feb. 10, the herd started the game with conviction, winning the first set 25-21.

The Bisons followed up their strong effort in the first set with another win in the second.

This time, the herd won 25-23, with Nicoles Carter and Harrison Ens stuffing an attack by
UFV’s Ryan Adams to pick up the decisive 25th point.

In the third, the Cascades rallied, winning the set 25-23 due in part to 10 U of M errors
gifting the Cascades free points.

The Bisons got down to business in the fourth, however, quelling the UFV comeback by
taking the set 25-21 and the game 3-1.

Rookie Sammy Ludwig led the team in assists with 36, while Spencer Grahame got 11

The game on Feb. 11 started with a very sentimental moment, in which an injured
Brendan Warren playing in his final home game served to start the action.

The serve was an underhanded sky ball, which rose high into the air, before plummeting
straight down, nearly finding its way over the net, but ultimately dropping just short.

Although the serve missed, the heartwarming moment put a smile on many people’s faces
at Investors Group Athletic Centre.

Despite trailing by as much as six, the herd took the first set 25-22.

The set was closed out by Grahame who went on a torrid serving run, clawing the Bisons
back from being down 22-19 to 25-22.

In the second, the Bisons won a tight back-and-forth set 25-23.

Looking to close out the series sweep in the third, the Bisons simply overwhelmed a
deflated UFV squad, winning the set 25-17 on a service ace from Nicoles Carter.

Eric Ogaranko led the way offensively, accumulating 10 kills, while Mathieu Lavoie was a
difference maker on defence strapping up five Cascades attacks.

The team is now 9-13, which is good for eighth place in CanWest as it clings to the last playoff
spot while also hoping for Thompson Rivers University WolfPack (TRU) and U of W losses
— both of whom trail the Bisons by a single game in the standings.

Lockport, Man. native Jack Mandryk also made history over the weekend.

Playing in his final home game, Mandryk moved into 10th place on the CanWest all-time
assists list.

Mandryk dished out 30 assists in two games against UFV, moving his career total to an
impressive 2,798 over a prolific tenure with the Bisons.

On a humid July scorcher, that’s perhaps just as many ice-creams as the Half Moon
dishes out in one day, but surely the good people of Lockport are still proud of Mandryk’s

Mandryk will need 362 more assists to pass University of British Columbia Thunderbird
alum Milan Nikic for sole possession of ninth place.

With just two games remaining in the season and the prospect of playoff action for the
Bisons still very much in the air, Mandryk will be hard pressed to usurp Nikic.

However, if the herd ends up making a Cinderella run in the CanWest playoffs, he may just do it.

Though, the prospects of that are dubious at best.

If the U of M can win at least one game this weekend, and both the U of W and TRU lose
both of their games, the herd will clinch a playoff spot.

Mandryk and the herd will need all the long-distance support students can offer next week as
the Bisons wrap up the regular season play against the University of Calgary Dinos Feb. 17
and 18 in Calgary, Alta.