Tyler Crayston, Brandon University Athletics
BRANDON, Man. – The No.1 nationally ranked Bobcats achieved another first on Friday night with a straight sets win over the MacEwan Griffins.
The set scores were 25-21, 25-22 and 25-22.
BU clinched first-place in the regular season standings for the first-time in program history, while extending their winning streak to 15 straight matches.
The Bobcats secured home-court advantage throughout the conference playoffs starting with the quarter-final series next week.
"It is great to wrap up first place and secure home-court running into the playoffs," said fifth-year co-captain James Weir. "We have been really good at home this season and to have that advantage is huge coming into crunch time."
Friday's victory also saw Weir reach a significant individual milestone. He became BU's all-time leader in career blocks, surpassing the record previously held by BU Sports Wall of Famer Joel Small at 317.
Brandon's attack efficiency in the first set was a strong .419, but their play wasn't clean at the service line with seven errors. Down the stretch, the Bobcats pulled through with a 4-0 run.
The second set went down to the wire. The Griffins trailed 23-22, before a missed MacEwan serve gave the Bobcats set point and the momentum needed to secure the middle frame.
In the third set, the Bobcats had a 6-1 surge to give them a six-point lead early on. Brandon maintained that advantage going into the technical timeout.
BU built their lead to eight points, but the Griffins rallied with an 8-3 run to cut the deficit to 23-20.
An ensuing service error by MacEwan put the Bobcats in the drivers seat and Brandon held down the fort with the Griffins fighting off two match points.
Brandon balanced out the offence with Elliott Viles, Robin Baghdady and Weir recording 10 kills each. Reece Dixon delivered a double-double with 42 assists and 13 digs as the Bobcats improved to 19-and-2.
Max Vriend had a match-high 14 kills in a losing cause for MacEwan, who slipped to 3-and-18
Brandon and MacEwan meet in the rematch on Saturday to close out the regular season schedule.
(Photo Courtesy: Milana Paddock)