Larissa Vicente Ferreira; Dinos Communications
CALGARY – The University of Calgary Dinos were challenged in their first playoff game but persevered to take Game 1 of their Canada West quarter-final series 3-2 (20-25, 22-25, 25-14, 25-12, 15-8) over the Manitoba Bisons at the Jack Simpson Gym.
Playing their first game without reigning conference player of the year Kate Pexman, the Dinos struggled to find their rhythm on Thursday evening. Eventually breaking, Hannah Tanasichuk posted a game-high 20 kills for Calgary. Manitoba's Jocelyn Koswin countered with 11 kills.
Calgary will have a chance to finish the series on Friday with a 3:30 p.m. start at the Jack Simpson Gym.
"We need to start out a lot faster than we did today. And we need to continue that energy that we carried, at the end, all the way through," mentioned Adriel Goodman.
The Bisons held the lead for most of the first set, making the Dinos play catch up. Kelsey Jordan, who had 33 assists during the match, had the Dinos on their toes as they forced 10 attack errors in the set. Calgary could not tighten their play fast enough and Manitoba won the first set 25-20.
Strong play at the net by Manitoba allowed them to pull away from Calgary mid-way through the second set. The addition of Autumn Davidson off the bench seemed to give the Dinos some life, but it was not enough to salvage the set as they fell 25-22.
After the first two sets, the Dinos dominated.
The Dinos came out in the third set looking like a different team. Calgary was able to maintain a four-point lead for most of the set and improved on their hitting percentage, going to .314. Calgary took the third set with a 25-14 score.
The home side carried momentum into the fourth set and quickly built a massive lead with Tanasichuk on the service line. Manitoba fell behind with three service errors, while the Dinos had none. Goodman, who had six block assists, was key to the Dinos' comeback and did her best to fill in Pexman's shoes. The Dinos ended the fourth set with a 13-point lead, winning 25-12.
"This is an awesome testament of our team to be able to bounce back," said Goodman. "In the first two sets, we allowed the fact that we had a new lineup get to us a little bit and then when we settled down. We rolled with it and did what we do in practice."
Calgary carried their strong play into the final set. Dinos senior setter Leah Shevkenek had three straight serves, which helped the Dinos form a seven-point lead. The top-seeded Canada West team closed out the match with a 15-8 win.
The winner of the series will take on the winner of the Regina-UBC series in a Canada West semifinal next weekend.
Photo by David Moll