Bears stop streak with win over Wesmen

Bears stop streak with win over Wesmen

Paul Cartledge - Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics

EDMONTON – The No.4 University of Alberta Golden Bears quickly put a halt to their two-game losing skid, taking a dominant straight-sets win (25-11, 25-15, 25-21) over the University of Winnipeg Wesmen, Friday night at Saville Community Sports Centre.

Senior outside hitter Ryan Nickifor led the offence with 13 kills and three block assists while senior middle Taylor Arnett added nine kills alongside a half-dozen block assists. Team captain and senior setter Brett Walsh netted 31 assists to put his conference-leading average to 11.04 assists per set.

Fourth-year outside hitter and team kill leader Taylor Howe scored a team-high six kills for the visiting Wesmen, sophomore setter Mikael Clegg recording 16 assists.

Alberta burst out of the gate in the opening set, the defence putting the Bears up 5-0 with great blocks before the offence, with the help of a struggling Winnipeg squad, quickly moved the score to 18-4. Attacking at a blistering 60% rate, Alberta claimed the first set and looked poised to do the same in the second.

Except for troubles at the service line, the Bears committing a total of 11 on the night, Alberta did just that, putting up eight straight points to break an early 4-4 tie, weathering four more service errors before Nickifor's sixth kill of the set gave the Bears a commanding 2-0 set lead.

Attack errors started seeping into their game to start the final set, however, half of Winnipeg's points coming off offensive miscues as the Wesmen built up a 12-7 lead. Tied in the conference standings coming into the weekend, Winnipeg regained their lead after a short 5-0 run had the teams even again, yet the powerful Alberta offence resurged, four different Bears spinning kills to claim the lead for the first time in the set and threatening to end the match.

Winnipeg battled back and managed to get as close as 22-21 before three straight points that ended on a three-man Alberta block got the Bears back in the win column.

The 4-3 Wesmen and 5-2 Alberta will play the second game of the weekend series on Saturday, game time approximately at 6:30 PM MT.