Matt Packwood, Brandon University Athletics
BRANDON, Man. – The Brandon Bobcats picked up a crucial 3-1 (25-17, 20-25, 25-17, 25-17) win over the Mount Royal Cougars to even their Canada West semi-final series 1-1 on Friday.
Brandon cleaned up the errors that plagued them Thursday forcing a deciding match on Saturday.
The Cougars were the only Canada West team Brandon had not beat yet this year, and with their conference season on the line, Brandon played their hearts out in front of another loud and supportive crowd of 1,339.
"They snatched the momentum last night and I felt like tonight it was the opposite. We took the momentum and ran with it and the energy the crowd gave us was so crucial and it was definitely the biggest high I've felt while playing at BU," said third-year outside Elliott Viles.
Brandon coach Grant Wilson was happy with his team's effort to take better care of the ball.
"It was definitely a more focused effort tonight," said Wilson.
"Our guys were just real focused on just trying to be better and we seemed to have good energy right from the start and I just liked our commitment to the game plan and what we wanted to do and the guys stuck with it."
Rookie sensation Robin Baghdady had six kills in the first set as BU hit .308 as a team while Mount Royal struggled early to maintain any momentum hitting just .091.
The second set saw a series of runs with Mount Royal jumping to an early 6-1 lead that proved to be the difference while Brandon hit at a negative clip at for the first time all playoffs.
The Bobcats turned it on the third set registering 19 kills on a .444 attack efficiency. The fourth wasn't much difference as Brandon hit .400 while Mount Royal hit at a negative rate, also for the first time in the post-season.
"They were definitely the better team," said Cougars' rookie Luis Lange. "They played amazing defence today and they just capitalized when ever they could."
Baghdady paced the Bobcats finishing with a match-high 16 kills while Seth Friesen had 13 and Elliott Viles had 11.
Reece Dixon had a match-high 45 assists and 15 digs while fifth-year libero Brady Nault put up 10 digs.
Mount Royal was led by Trent Mounter's 11 kills while Tyler Schmidt had six kills. Jonathan Phillips had a team-high 13 digs for the Cougars.
The two teams will conclude the semi-final series at the Brandon University Healthy Living Centre on Saturday with first serve set for 7 p.m. CST.
Photo courtesy Milana Paddock