Tyler Crayston, Brandon University Athletics
BRANDON – The Bobcat men's volleyball team opened the 2018-19 Canada West regular season with a four-set win over the visiting Saskatchewan Huskies on Friday night at the Healthy Living Centre.
The set scores were 25-15, 25-19, 27-29 and 25-21.
Robin Baghdady had an impressive BU debut with the Swiss star scoring a team-high 14 kills. James Weir was involved in 10 blocks and Reece Dixon delivered 48 assists. Seth Friesen finished just shy of a double-double with 13 kills and nine digs.
"We have had some shaky starts in previous seasons, so winning the opening game is always a good feeling," said Weir. "It helps us set the tone and build momentum right from the get-go."
BU started strong with a 9-2 run to give them a 12-6 advantage where Baghdady delivered two service aces to help set the tone.
In the second set, the Bobcats had mini runs of 3-0 and 4-0 to put them in a comfortable spot.
The Huskies turned the tables in the third thanks to a 3-0 run to build up an 8-4 lead. Saskatchewan and Brandon went back and forth for the remainder of the set with the two sides tied at 20-20.
The third set was decided by extra points with the Bobcats up 27-26, before the Huskies rallied with three in a row to force a fourth set with a marathon 29-27 victory.
Brandon and Saskatchewan traded 3-0 runs early in the fourth and it wasn't until after the technical timeout that the Bobcats started to pull ahead. Four consecutive Bobcat points gave BU a 21-15 lead and they never looked back.
The top scorer on opening night was Colin Fraser of the Huskies, who delivered a match-high 15 kills for Saskatchewan.
"We got better as the match moved along and that is a positive. BU is good team and I think it comes down to the small things," said Fraser. "By the end of the match we were neck and neck with the things we needed to do against them. A couple digs or blocks here and there will make a big difference against a team like that."
The Bobcats and Huskies meet in the rematch on Saturday night at the HLC.
(Photo courtesy Milana Paddock)