Alyssa Etsell, Bison Sports
WINNIPEG – The No. 2 ranked Brandon University Bobcats used a potent offensive attack to earn a 3-0 win (25-21, 25-20, 25-16) over the University of Manitoba Bisons on Friday night in men's volleyball action at Investors Group Athletic Centre.
The first two sets were close, as neither team led by more than three points at a time, but the Bobcats' relentless offensive play and tough serves were too much for Manitoba in the third.
"It's tough to win on the road in this league and I thought our guys came out pretty focused and played with a purpose right from the start," said Bobcats head coach Grant Wilson.
The win pushes the Bobcats to a five-game winning streak and moves their record to 9-2.
A service error by the Bisons late in the third pushed the set's score to 24-16 and an out-of-bounds play by Manitoba netted Brandon the set, and in turn, the win.
Going into a game against a second-ranked team, the Bisons knew they had to bring their A-game. They were focused on doing as many things right on their side of the court as possible.
"It's a very talented team and we just wanted to be as clean as we could; we were for two sets and then we lost it a bit in the third," said Bisons head coach Garth Pischke. "We hit .412 in the first two sets which was extremely good, and good enough to win most sets, but they hit .500 so they're just a little bit better than us and the score reflected that."
For Brandon, Elliott Viles led the team with 14 kills. Manitoba's Kevin Negus chalked up eight for the home team.
Early in the second, Manitoba had a slight lead, giving the visitors their turn to fight from behind. At half, Brandon led 16-14 and surged from there. A massive block by Brendan Warren attempted to close the lead at a crucial point, but a Bisons error put Brandon within set point and a kill right near the mid-court line moved the visitors to clinch the set, 25-20.
In the first, the Bobcats had trouble maintaining a substantial lead, up by just three points halfway through the first set (16-13). A service error from Manitoba put the Brandon within set point, and a block error netted the set win (25-21).
With the loss, Manitoba's record moves to 4-7.
What will Manitoba be looking to improve on for tomorrow's matchup?
"One of the areas they beat us badly on was serving, they had tougher serves and we missed a lot of not-so-tough serves and we're going to have to be better at that," said Pischke. "If we don't put pressure on them serve receive wise then they can run their offence – and it's a pretty powerful offence.
Both teams will face each other again tomorrow at the Investors Group Athletic Centre. The matchup starts at 6:45 p.m. CST. You can catch the game live online at CanadaWest.TV.