By Danielle Doiron
Winnipeg, MB – The #3 University of Manitoba Bison men's volleyball team claimed lucky No. 13 with a win over the University of Calgary Dinos on Friday, January 20 night at Investors Group Athletic Centre. The Bisons took the first game of the weekend in straight sets (25-14, 25-22, 25-22) to earn their 13th conference victory in a row and their 14th overall win this season.
Manitoba's (14-1) only loss came against the Mount Royal University Cougars in October. The loss against the Bisons brings Calgary's (7-8) five-game win streak to an end.
"It was very solid on our part, I thought," Bison head coach Garth Pischke said. "Everyone was contributing out there, and Devren really shone, honestly. He's really into it right now and playing his best volleyball. Everybody else was doing their job."
Devren Dear led both teams with 15 kills. Curtis Stockton and Alex Bader had 13 and 12 for the Dinos, respectively, while Manitoba's Luke Herr racked up 33 assists.
"We were preparing hard for (Stockton)," Pischke said, noting the Calgary veteran is one of the league's top players. "He's been playing some exceptional matches, so we wanted to put as much pressure on him as we could and make sure he had two guys that he was looking at all the time on the block … and I think we did a good job of that."
Calgary got off to a rough start, serving long to surrender the first point of the game. Manitoba's attackers, on the other hand, dominated. Devren Dear led the home offense with six kills in the first alone. The Dinos won consecutive rallies only once in the set, when a pair of Bison errors cut Manitoba's lead to 14-9. The Bisons, in comparison, held possession seven times in the first, including a four-rally streak that helped give the home side a 23-12 lead. Manitoba went on to win the set 25-14.
The next set was a closer contest. The Bisons gained an early 13-6 lead, but the Dinos offence broke out after the technical timeout. Calgary brought the set within two points on a service ace that made it 22-20 Manitoba. The Bisons served short twice in the final five serves of the set but still hung on to take the second 25-22.
The third was just as intense, but Manitoba maintained a slight lead for most of the set. Calgary once again came from behind late in the set, this time bringing the game within three and cutting the Bisons' lead to 20-17. A Stockton service error put Manitoba at match point (up 24-19), but the Dinos weren't done yet. The visitors won the next three rallies and forced a Manitoba timeout before Ken Rooney sealed the 25-22 set win with a well-placed final kill.
The teams finish up their two-game weekend set on Saturday (Jan. 21) at 3 p.m. CT at Investors Group Athletic Centre.
(Bisons listed first): 25-14, 25-22, 25-22
MAN: Devren Dear (15)
CGY: Curtis Stockton (13)
MAN: Luke Herr (33)
CGY: Alex Cook (21)
MAN: Luke Herr (6)
CGY: Curtis Stockton (7)