Kellen Taniguchi, Bisons Athletics
WINNIPEG – The #2 University of Manitoba Bisons defeated the fourth seeded and #6 UBC Thunderbirds 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-17) to open the Canada West Men's Volleyball Final Four at the Investors Group Athletic Centre on Friday, March 10 in front of a packed house.
With the win, Manitoba advances to the Canada West finals tomorrow night and will play the winner of the Trinity Western Spartans and the Alberta Golden Bears.
The Investors Group Athletic Centre was filled with approximately 2,200 fans, which helped energize the Bisons to victory.
"We don't get this very often" said Bisons left side Evan Jackson. "Usually we only have one side open, and the fact that we could have two sides open and have them both packed. I give a shout out to the fans for that one, because they definitely helped us."
Devren Dear was named Manitoba's player of the game, he led the game with 13 kills and came up with eight digs; Evan Jackson was also huge for the Herd with 12 kills in the match. Irvan Brar led the visitors with seven kills in the match, and Danny Aspenlieder was named UBC's player of the game.
The game opened with four straight service errors, before the Bisons scored a point on a UBC attacking error. With the visitors up 8-7, Manitoba strung together three straight points which included a kill from Evan Jackson. The home team would string another three points together later on, with kills slammed down by Adam DeJonckheere and Devren Dear to take a 15-10 lead. The Bisons didn't let the Thunderbirds get anything going and took the set 25-22 capped off with another DeJonckheere kill. Manitoba was able to overcome eight service errors, had four players with four kills (DeJonckheere, Dear, and Jackson), and hit at a .370 per cent compared to UBC's .000 per cent to help win the first set.
"It definetly did, and them too" Bisons head coach Garth Pischke said of the crowd affecting the first four serves. "It was very difficult for them, we don't play in front of crowds like this during the regular season."
The visitors led 7-6 early on in the second set, but the Herd scored four unanswered points to take a 10-7 lead. The Bisons rolled into the technical timeout with a commanding 16-8 lead, with the 15th point coming on an impressive rally where Luke Herr came up with three digs, and Evan Jackson ended it with a huge kill to get the fans roaring. The T-birds answered with four straight points later on, connecting on three kills to cut the lead down to 17-13. UBC tried to claw back into the set, but Manitoba took it 25-22. The home team spiked down 15 kills in the set compared to their opponents eight. UBC continued to dominate at the service line with five aces in the set, two of which came courtesy of Byron Keturakis.
The Bisons controlled the final set and won it by a score of 25-17. Throughout the set Manitoba strung together three consecutive points on five different occasions to build their big lead. Manitoba played much better defensively in the final frame with Devren Dear contributing to three blocks and Ken Rooney contributing to two. The crowd was rocking throughout the game and stood for the entirety of the winning point which was a block by Devren Dear and Dustin Spiring.
Manitoba will play in the Canada West Finals tomorrow night, at 8 p.m. CT at the Investors Group Athletic Centre where they will look to win their second Canada West Championship. UBC will play in the bronze medal match at 6 p.m. CT before the finals.
(Manitoba listed first): (25-22, 25-22, 25-17)
MAN: Devren Dear (13)
UBC: Irvan Brar (7)
MAN: Luke Herr (34)
UBC: Byron Keturakis (21)
MAN: Luke Herr (11)
UBC: Tyson Smith (10)
MAN: Devren Dear and Ken Rooney (5)
UBC: Joel Regehr (2)
About Canada West Championships:
Canada West is the premier athletic conference in the country and is home to champion student-athletes that excel on the field, in the classroom and in their communities. Canada West and its 17 member institutions commit to a student-athlete experience where competitive excellence, scholarship and sportsmanship contribute equally towards moulding outstanding graduates and community leaders.
The 2017 Canada West Volleyball Final Four is proudly sponsored by Mikasa Sports Canada. Since 1997, Mikasa Sports Canada, through Catsports Inc., has distributed quality products to better satisfy the demand of Canadian athletes and is the official ball supplier for Canada West volleyball.
Canada West – Training leaders, building champions.