By Danielle Doiron
WINNIPEG, MB – The #3 University of Manitoba Bison men's volleyball team won their 14th in a row on Saturday, Jan. 21 afternoon. The Bisons swept their two-game weekend set with a 3-1 (28-26, 24-26, 25-18, 25-23) win over the University of Calgary Dinos at Investors Group Athletic Centre.
Manitoba is now 15-1 this Canada West season, while the loss drops Calgary to 7-9.
"I thought Calgary played a lot better (than yesterday)," Bison head coach Garth Pischke said. "They really served the ball much better and put us in trouble a fair amount. We managed to weather it."
Bison Devren Dear had 24 kills in the game, and Adam DeJonckheere and Evan Jackson had 14 and 13 for the home side, respectively. Curtis Stockton led the Dinos with 17 kills, and Calgary's Alex Cook put up 15 digs.
The Bison offence opened the game with the same power it did on Friday night. Dear posted seven kills in the set, but the Dinos kept up. Calgary's Alex Bader's six kills dominated the court, and Curtis Stockton's three consecutive kills (of his six in the set) cut Manitoba's lead to a single point after the technical timeout. The visitors tied the game at 24, 25 and then at 26 before a DeJonckheere kill and a Dear/Spiring block gave the Bisons the first set 28-26.
The second was just as intense. The set saw almost a dozen lead changes, as the Bisons and Dinos battled to gain more than a one- or two-point advantage. With Manitoba up 23-22, Calgary called a timeout. When the teams returned to the court, the visitors tied the game on a Mitchell Higgin kill. The Dinos broke out in front on a Bison attack error and went on to win the set 26-24.
The first rally of the third saw a Bader kill give the Dinos a 1-0 lead. Ken Rooney retaliated with a kill of his own. After that, the Bisons never trailed in the set. Manitoba's Jackson shone, putting up six kills, a service ace and a dig to help the Bisons take the third 25-18.
"I thought the third set was really key," Pischke said. "We came out with some real good intensity and played very, very well. (We) kind of realized that we can't start thinking about the end of the game. We've got to think about every point, and I think that got us back on track."
Manitoba rode that momentum into the fourth. The Bisons got off to an early lead and only trailed once after the technical timeout, when a pair of disputed calls helped the Dinos break out in front 17-16. From there, the teams traded the serve until Dear dove to save a would-be Calgary point to kick-start an attack that put the Bisons back up. A few rallies later, Manitoba won the fourth 25-23 on a DeJonckheere kill.
Manitoba opens a two-game set in Brandon against the Bobcats on Friday, Jan. 27 at 7:45 p.m. CT.
"They're a big team with another outstanding left-side player and a couple of good middles, too, so it's going to be a challenge for us," Pischke said about the Bobcats. "We'll prepare hard for it this week, and hopefully our serving game is better than it was this weekend."
(Bisons listed first): 28-26, 24-26, 25-18, 25-23
MAN: Devren Dear (24)
CGY: Curtis Stockton (17)
MAN: Luke Herr (58)
CGY: Alex Cook (41)
MAN: Adam DeJonckheere (10)
CGY: Alex Cook (15)