Bisons punch ticket to nationals

The herd beat rival U of W to claim third in CanWest and qualify for nationals

On their journey to qualify for the U-Sports national championship, the U of M women’s
volleyball team was absolutely pushed to the limit at the Duckworth Centre on Friday, March

The game day energy was electric with the stakes being so high — a Canada West
conference (CanWest) bronze medal on the line and a berth to the U-Sports playoffs. The
five-set nail biter was spectated by more than 1,100 fans.

The Bisons played their fierce rival, the University of Winnipeg Wesmen (U of W), whom
they had played five times already this season including exhibition games. The winner would
punch their ticket to the U-Sports national championship, taking place from March 17 to 19 in
Vancouver, B.C.

Going into the playoffs, the U of M was originally seeded sixth in the CanWest rankings,
while the Wesmen were seeded fourth.

Ultimately, the game was a huge triumph for the U of M women’s volleyball team, who
went into last Friday night’s game fresh off of losing the CanWest semi-finals to the Mount
Royal Cougars (MRU).

Despite the previous setback against MRU in the semi-final, the consummate underdog
Bisons quickly bounced back.

Leading the charge was none other than superstar rookie Raya Surinx, who absolutely
dominated, achieving an astonishing 26 kills in the game, an all-time career high.

Another asset for the Bisons in this game was Katreena Bentley, who was indispensable
as she also achieved a career high 60 assists. When the going got tough, Bentley got going.

The Bisons won the first two sets of Friday’s game, but they struggled in the third and
fourth sets, losing to the Wesmen 25-20 and 25-21, sending the herd and Wesmen,
deadlocked at two sets apiece, to a decisive fifth set.

In the fifth, the U of M clutched up and prevailed 15-13.

With the win, the herd not only captured a CanWest bronze medal, but also secured a trip
to the U-Sports national championship for the first time since 2014.

Another huge factor for the Bisons on Friday night was Julia Arnold, who attained an all-
time career high, and CanWest five-set high, of 35 digs, many of which were absolutely
crucial in helping the herd get the win when it looked like the team was at the end of their

Ultimately, this Bisons team is very young and won’t be expected to make much noise at
nationals. However, as the herd has proved all year long, they’re good at upsets.

The Bisons will be looking for redemption as they take on the Mount Royal Cougars in
Vancouver, B.C. this Friday, March 17, at 10 p.m. in the first round of the U-Sports
championship playoffs.