By: Alyssa Etsell, Bison Sports
WINNIPEG – In a tumultuous home opener, the University of Manitoba Bisons took the match against the MacEwan University Griffins 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-20) on October 27 at the Investors Group Athletic Centre.
The Griffins started strong, but fell halfway through the first set and weren't able to regain that confidence.
"I thought we played nervous, our first away game… I just thought we never really got going," said Griffins head coach Ken Briggs.
A rough game which saw each team lead and trail by big margins at various points in each set, the scoring evened out early in the third set. Both teams were point-for-point until Bisons' Grace Van Der Meer made a huge kill and gave Manitoba a safer barrier in their lead (7-4). The Griffins fought to remain within two points of the Bisons for much of the first half. In the latter half of the set, MacEwan gained more sureness and struggled to stay in the game. They pulled out all stops to drive the score up to 23-19, but some errors put Manitoba within set point and the Bisons took the set 25-20.
"We won 3-0 so I'm not going to be overly critical," said Bisons head coach Ken Bentley. "I mean, it was okay, we can still play a little better. I thought we played the points at the end pretty well and I thought we defended pretty well."
Manitoba came to play in the second set, driving the score up 5-0 before MacEwan could get just one point. The Griffins trailed the entire set, but halfway through gained confidence (15-8). At 22-13 for the Bisons, the Griffins hit their stride and went on a four-point streak to narrow Manitoba's lead. The Herd's Sydney Kurth made a successful block and brought her team within set point (24-17). Haley Gilfillan and Hailey Cornelis made key plays for the Griffins, trying to narrow their gap but Lauren Holmes produced a service error and Manitoba took the second set 25-21.
In the first set, the Griffins took an early lead. Halfway through the set, they were maintaining it 16-11. A series of errors by MacEwan let Manitoba catch up, tying the game at 21. From there, Manitoba surged past to 24-22. An error by the Griffins led to Manitoba getting the set win, 25-22.
Briggs said his plan for tomorrow's match: "play better."
Both teams will face each other again tomorrow (Oct. 28) at 2:00 p.m. CST at Investors Group Athletic Centre. Watch the match live on Canadawest.tv.