Matt Packwood, Brandon University Athletics
BRANDON – The Brandon Bobcats showed the Calgary Dinos their best, but the Dinos held on down the stretch to pick up the weekend sweep thanks to a 3-1 (23-, 25-18, 25-13, 25-22) win Saturday.
The Bobcats showed fight in the first and last sets, but it wasn't enough as the No. 1 ranked Dinos head back home with a perfect 8-0 record in conference play.
The Dinos credit their success with handling adversity with poise.
"Ultimately it just came down to our serving. We were aggressive and putting tough serves into play and putting them in a tougher position, and then also staying patient because they are a team that gets a lot of digs on balls that might normally score," says Dinos fourth-year middle Beth Vinnell.
"We've done a good job of coming into matches comfortable and confident, not so comfortable that we're sitting back, but when we've been in trouble situations we don't let it get to our heads so we've just been able to push through those tough situations," Vinnell adds.
After falling behind early the Dinos went on an 11-3 run out of the technical time-out to lead 22-19. After that the Brandon put a stop to the bleeding by putting up four straight points, handing the Dinos their first set loss of the weekend and just their fourth set loss so far in conference play this season.
The second set saw Calgary get back to what they tend to do best: serve tough, play solid defence, and score with efficiency. With the Dinos finding their groove their play improved dramatically, hitting .252 in the second set to .067 in the first set.
The Bobcats struggled to get the offence running in the third set, hitting -.258 to the Dinos .240.
The fourth saw the two teams trade blows right up to 21-21 before the Dinos Hannah Tanasichuk and Kenzie Vaandering served the match out.
Tanasichuk led the Dinos with 14 kills while Kate Pexman finished with 12 kills and Vinnell added 10. Vinnell also finished with a match-high six blocks.
Fourth-year libero Kennedy Snape was dynamite for the Dinos, registering a match-high 29 digs.
Brandon was led yet again by fifth-year outside Nikala Majewski, who finished with a match-high 16 kills, registering a double-double in the process with 13 digs.
Michelle Egger added a double-double as well, contributing 10 kills and 11 digs, while sophomore libero Caitlin Le finished with 19 digs.
Brandon now sits with a 2-6 record in conference play on the season and gets set to hit the road next weekend to take on UBC-Okanagan in Kelowna. The Dinos will welcome the Manitoba Bisons for a pair of matches beginning on Friday at 6 pm MST.
All Canada West conference volleyball matches can be seen live at www.canadawest.tv.
(Photo courtesy Milana Paddock)