WVB: Wesmen see improvement; Pandas prepare for playoffs

WVB: Wesmen see improvement; Pandas prepare for playoffs

DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics

WINNIPEG — Diane Scott acknowledged there is still much work to be done for these Winnipeg Wesmen, but wasn't about to gloss over small improvements from a season ago.

Julia Zonneveld had 10 kills and a match-high 14 digs and the Alberta Pandas beat the Wesmen women's volleyball team 3-0 (25-23, 25-14, 25-17) in a Canada West conference match Saturday that closed the regular season.

Scott, the Wesmen head coach, saw her team improve by three on its win total from a season ago in finishing 4-20 with a roster largely made up of first- and second-year talent. 

"We grew a ton and we improved a ton, and we still have a ton of work to do," Scott said. "Player for player they're working hard, they're doing the extra things, they're training, but we still need more. We need some more strength, we need some more pop in our skill and just more game. We're playing physical teams, so we need to be more physical. Individual players are still improving every day."

The Wesmen got nine kills from sophomore left side Ashleigh Laube but made 26 attack errors for the second straight night. 

"They're an exceptional group of young women ... but they're a little bit too nice," Scott said. "... We need everyone to be hitting their mark. It doesn't have to be out of this world, it just has to be consistent. Our No. 1 thing is unforced attack errors and again it was tonight. But there were some errors that were different shots tonight. I'm OK if we're making new mistakes. It's the repeated mistakes that are frustrating."

The Wesmen had a run at 21-18 in the first to pull even at 22-22. But the Pandas got kills from Zonneveld and White and an attack error from Emma Parker to close the set out.

In Set 2, Alberta took control early breaking a 2-2 tie by scoring eight of the next nine points. Another run of five straight points later in the set gave the Pandas a 22-12 lead.

The Pandas flipped the switch in the third by scoring eight out of nine points to turn a two-point edge into a 19-10 advantage.

Still, Alberta head coach Laurie Eisler wasn't convinced Saturday's performance was an indication they're firing on all cylinders. 

"I don't think we're there yet," Eisler said, "but we're trying to move in that direction, for sure."

Kory White had a match-high 13 kills to pace the Pandas, who now turn their attention to the post-season after finishing 18-6.

"I was happy with how we handled things on our side," Eisler said. "It's not perfect by any means but we tended to if we made a mistake, the next rally we'd fix it. We adapted pretty well to the challenges (Winnipeg) presented."



Photo: David Larkins/Wesmen Athletics