Alyssa Etsell, Bison Sports
WINNIPEG – The MacEwan University Griffins dropped a hard-fought 3-1 (25-19, 19-25, 25-22, 25-22) game to the University of Manitoba Bisons on Oct. 27 at the Investors Group Athletic Centre.
The Bisons were coming off of a 0-2 opening weekend of play, but managed to improve on the effort for today's matchup.
"I was very very pleased after last weekend's play, we lost two matches but we lost to a very good team," said Bison head coach Garth Pischke. "I was quietly optimistic that we were going to come out and do it again."
Fresh off a home-opening series sweep, MacEwan came to fight in their first away game of the season, but weren't able to gain enough control of the game to pull off the win.
"It was on our side, we made a few unforced errors. I don't think they really beat us, I think we beat ourselves," said Max Vriend, Griffins captain. "For tomorrow's game, we go back to our controllables, go back to our system."
Though a close game, the Bisons were able to maintain a lead throughout the fourth set, which made a difference. A spike by Dustin Spiring sent the score to 24-22 to bring the Bisons within set point. An error by MacEwan gave the Bisons the set (25-22) and in turn, the game.
"We started off the same in the first set, we were playing really well and then we sort of let it slide a little bit but we preserved and made some adjustments," said Pischke. "We kept our confidence which is tough to do for a young team."
The third set, like much of the earlier game, was a neck-and-neck race. MacEwan took a lead early on (6-4) but some errors gave Manitoba the opportunity to make up points and the set was tied by 7-7. Quick plays made the first half this set rally heavy. A strong block by Manitoba extended a late point surge to 22-19. At 23-21, the Griffins made a service error that put the Bisons within set point. A kill made by Kevin Negus secured the set win for Manitoba, 25-22.
Earlier in the game, MacEwan led the second set by a margin of one point until halfway through when a cross-court strike from Noah Johnson landed them a 16-14 lead. The Griffins extended their lead throughout the second half. A back-pocket kill from Friend put MacEwan three points from taking the set. Later, Jordan Peters broke a rally with a mid-court spike to take the second set 25-19.
In the first set, the Griffins made a strong effort to get ahead, with great blocking and strategic kills, however, the Bisons held strong and took their lead to the end of the set. A strong mid-court kill by Dylan Sutherland put Manitoba within set point, and a block from Negus clinched the set (25-19)
Both teams will face each other again tomorrow (Oct. 28) at 3:45 p.m. CST at Investors Group Athletic Centre. Watch the match live on Canadawest.tv.