Manitoba defeats Winnipeg in women's volleyball to win Duckworth Challenge

Manitoba defeats Winnipeg in women's volleyball to win Duckworth Challenge

Written by: Kellen Taniguchi

Winnipeg, MB – The University of Manitoba Bisons women's volleyball team defeated the University of Winnipeg Wesmen 3-1 (15,25, 26-24, 25-20, 26-24) at the 26th annual Duckworth Challenge, at the Investors Group Athletic Centre on Thursday, December 8.

With the win, the Bisons improve to 5-6, and the Wesmen fall to 1-10 in Canada West Division play.

The University of Manitoba has now won the Duckworth Challenge for the fourth straight year, as the women's volleyball win gives the school a 3-1-1 victory over the University of Winnipeg.

"The kids all talked about it before, it's about the school, and winning it for our school" said Hykawy about the Duckworth Challenge. "It was great for me to be involved in it, and I learnt a lot about it." 

Winnipeg dominated the first set, but Manitoba would storm back and take three consecutive sets to win the match.

"Winnipeg came out ready to play, they were hitting the ball and more aggressive than us for sure" Bisons head coach Jon Hykawy said. "We defended the court better in the last three sets, and that's kind of what helped us." 

Manitoba's Kearley Abbott, and Winnipeg's Maria Colvin were named Duckworth Challenge players of the game.

The second set was very close, with the teams tied at six early on. The visitors led the set 23-22, heading into a Manitoba timeout. On the very next play, Kearley Abbott smashed in a kill, to tie the game. Josie Abbott would follow up with a kill of her own, as the Herd held a 24-23 lead. Maria Colvin would answer back for Winnipeg with a kill of her own to tie the game at 24. The home side would answer, with another Kearley Abbott kill, and would win the set 26-24on a Winnipeg attack error. Josie Abbott led Manitoba with five kills in the set, and Kearley Abbott with another three.

The Bisons carried momentum over into the third set, starting off with three unanswered points, but Winnipeg would storm back and take a 7-5 lead. The Herd would have an comeback to put up eight unanswered points, taking a 13-7 lead. The Bisons would lead for the remainder of the set, and Tori Studler came up with a kill on set point, to give Manitoba the set 25-20. Kearley Abbott came up big for the home side, smashing down seven kills in the set.

The Herd carried more momentum into the final set, where they scored five unanswered points to take a 9-5 lead early in the frame. The visitors would race back, and take a 16-15 lead, forcing Jon Hykawy to call a timeout for the home side. Manitoba would respond well, scoring five unanswered points after the time out, including three kills and a service ace. Winnipeg would make it close, but Manitoba squeaked out another 26-24 set victory, as the Bisons win the match.

Manitoba got out to an 8-5 lead in the first set, but Winnipeg would answer with six unanswered points, and never looked back on their way to the 25-15 first set win. The Herd committed 10 attacking errors, while Winnipeg only committed two within the set, which was a major factor in how the set played out.

Both teams have now completed the first half of their regular season schedule, and will return to action after the winter holidays. 

Bisons note: The Duckworth Challenge was started by Dr. Henry E. Duckworth (president of the University of Winnipeg from 1971-81 and Chancellor of the University of Manitoba from 1986-92) in an effort to profile the intense but friendly cross-town rivalry between the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba. It originated in the 1991-92 season. A new trophy was presented at the end of the 24th annual Duckworth Challenge to replace the original shield handed out.

Set Scores (Bisons score first): (15-25, 26-24, 25-20, 26-24)

Kill leaders
MB: Kearley Abbott (17)
WPG: Danika Picklyk (12)

Assist leaders
MB: Sydney Booker (46)
WPG: Rylie Dickson (30)

Dig leaders
MB: Sydney Booker (16)
WPG: Danika Picklyk (15)

Total block leaders
MB: Sarah Klassen (7)
WPG: Jessica Friesen and Maria Colvin (7)