Both the Bisons women’s and men’s volleyball teams played against the U of W Wesmen this past weekend in the volleyball portion of the Duckworth Challenge.
Overall, the women’s team had an amazing weekend series against the Wesmen.
To begin the action, the Bisons, who are the third-ranked team nationally, bumped off the Winnipeg Wesmen on Friday night in a four-set nail-biter.
In the process, the U of M also won the 32nd annual Duckworth Challenge, reclaiming victory after cooling off for a year.
Julia Arnold was Manitoba’s best player of this weekend’s Duckworth Challenge.
In the first set, the herd committed eight errors, which kept the Wesmen in the game.
Nevertheless, Raya Surinx managed to end the first set with a cross-court kill from the right side, giving the herd a 25-22 victory.
The U of W clapped back in the second set, however, beating the U of M 25-22 and forcing the game to go at least four sets.
In the third set, the herd rallied and pushed forward with momentum.
Katreena Bentley played great, accumulating a total of 45 assists on the night.
The herd crushed the Wesmen in the third set, winning easily 25-13. It was much the same story in the fourth set, too, as the herd trounced the Wesmen 25-8, taking the match 3-1.
In the second match, Surinx led the herd with 24 kills, and led the charge in the first set, contributing often as the herd took it 25-20.
U of M began to dominate over the Wesmen in the second set, who made six errors, naturally setting them up to fall short of the herd. The U of M finished the second set 25-21.
Nevertheless, the Wesmen made a comeback in the third set, beating the Bisons 25-23, once again sending both teams to a fourth set.
In the fourth set, the University of Manitoba beat the Wesmen 25-18, triumphing over the U of W for the second match in a row.
The first match between the Bisons and the U of W was a story of serving.
The herd struggled in the first match, committing 19 service errors. The Wesmen, in turn, detonated the herd with 12 aces, while the U of M fell short with just 2.
In the first set the Wesmen got six aces alone, seemingly pulling a fast one over the U of M who let the U of W take the reins of the match.
With such a drastic serving disparity, the Wesmen naturally beat the herd 25-23 in the first set, as Manitoba struggled to gain momentum.
In the second set, libero Josh Jehle rose to the occasion, making many spectacular digs to keep rallies going. However, his valiant efforts were not enough, as the Wesmen took the second set 25-22.
Entering the third set, those 18 service errors were sorely felt, as they greatly affected the U of M’s performance.
The Bisons finished off the third set by losing to the Wesmen 25-20.
In the rematch, the Bisons wanted to make a comeback against the Wesmen. The first set started off promising, with the U of M hitting .440 while attaining 14 kills.
The hot hitting facilitated some Manitoban success, for it beat the Wesmen in the first set 25-21.
Sammy Ludwig was brilliant in the first set and carried the offensive load throughout the match, as he dished out 33 assists.
Manitoba played a relatively clean game in the second set, but ultimately fell short, 25-21, due to U of W’s stellar hitters.
The Bisons went into the third hoping to beat Wesmen, but the herd struggled to keep rallies going. Consequently, the Wesmen beat the Bisons in the third 25-22, sending the match to a fourth set.
The fourth set was also a struggle for the herd who fell off compared to the U of W, who continued to build momentum.
Ultimately, the fourth set finished 25-17 in favour of the Wesmen, who took the match 3-1 and swept the herd in this past weekend’s series.
The University of Manitoba women’s and men’s volleyball teams next games will play against the University of Alberta Pandas and Golden Bears on Feb. 9 and 10.