Matt Packwood, Brandon University Athletics
BRANDON, Man. – The No. 1 nationally ranked Calgary Dinos lived up to their top-ranked billing by beating the host Brandon Bobcats 3-0 (25-16, 29-27, 27-25) Friday afternoon at the Healthy Living Centre.
In front of a crowd of raucous children for the Bobcat school day games, the Bobcats pushed the undefeated Dinos in the final two sets, fighting off and forcing set point of their own in the second.
It was all for naught however as the Dinos steadied the ship and showed why they are the top ranked team in the country.
"We're doing a much better job as the season wears on of staying confident and composed in moments that maybe are a little challenging," says the Dinos' Kate Pexman.
The Dinos stormed out of the gates by putting up 10 service aces in the first set, quickly establishing a big lead.
The Bobcats put up a better serve receive in the second and third sets, which led to more offence for the hometown side. As soon as Calgary was pushed in the second and third sets, they found a way to close it out late.
"Even though it's 24-24 or 27-27 we knew that it was just a race to two points, and when you break it down like that it just doesn't seem scary," Pexman adds.
The second and third set scores reflect how the Bobcats feel about their performance.
"We outscored them in those two sets. We had a higher efficiency, and we were doing what we needed to do on offence," says Brandon coach Lee Carter. "We dug, we hung in there on defence, our blocking was good. It was just that our serve reception broke down a little bit, so law of averages means tomorrow we come back way better. If we come back just one per cent better then we're good."
Calgary was led by Hannah Tanasichuk's team-high 12 kills while Pexman added 11 kills. Kennedy Snape led the Dinos with 17 digs.
Brandon was led by Nikala Majewski's 18 kills were a match-high while rookie libero Shayne Nichols led the Bobcats with 18 digs.
The win keeps Calgary's record perfect at 7-0 while Brandon falls to 2-5 in conference play on the season.
The two teams meet again Saturday afternoon in the second half of the weekend series at the BU Healthy Living Centre with first serve set for 5 pm.
The match can be seen live at www.canadawest.tv.
(Photo courtesy Milana Paddock)