Dinos overpower Wesmen

Wesmen show grit in loss

Ariel Smith jumps up for a block against the Calgary Dinos on Saturday, Jan. 17. Clayton Winter

If anything, at least the Wesmen are tough, and that goes a long way.

After losing 3-0 (25-18, 25-14, 25-17) on Friday night to the Calgary Dinos (11-3), the Winnipeg Wesmen (1-13) put together a stronger effort on Saturday at the Duckworth Centre.

Following a disappointing first set, Winnipeg managed to pull off the second against the fourth ranked Dinos. However, Calgary’s power was too much to handle for the young Wesmen group, who lost the third and fourth sets, decisively ending the game 3-1 (25-13, 23-25, 25-16, 25-16) in favour of the Dinos.

The opening set was perhaps the sloppiest for the Wesmen. Inconsistent setting - most notably poor timing - prevented them from generating much offense. Winnipeg registered only six kills in the set and the Dinos were able to take advantage.

“We need to play our own game and not worry about what’s on the other side of the net,” said first-year Tessa Peterson, who finished with a match high of 16 digs.

The Wesmen’s struggles culminated in the set’s final point, when two Winnipeg players looked at each other in confusion as the Dinos’ serve hit the floor.

The second set looked to be headed in a similar direction, as Calgary led 16-11 at the second technical timeout. However, a spirited 11-2 Wesmen charge brought Winnipeg back for the win. Some timely kills by rookie Ariel Smith, who had nine on the night along with 10 digs, two service aces, three blocks, as well as some great defensive digs by Peterson, helped Winnipeg pull off what was the highlight of their night.

“We just have to stay more disciplined. We have to know where we have to be and do it,” added Peterson.

However, the Dinos squashed Winnipeg’s momentum by jumping out to an early 13-5 lead in the third set. The Wesmen never regained their swagger, as Calgary began to overpower the Winnipeg defence. Fifth year Dinos Holly Harper and Lauren Perry led the barrage with 17 and 13 kills, respectively.

Despite the loss, the Wesmen are keeping things in perspective as they continue to learn how to handle top opponents.

“We have all of the top teams to play; it will be a good learning experience,” says second year left side Christie Nairn.

The Wesmen’s remaining matches are all against ranked teams, such as Alberta. The team, currently on a five game losing streak, is looking at these games as an opportunity to improve.

However, they will no doubt be looking to get a win or two along the way to climb out of the Canada West basement. They currently trail the University of Saskatchewan by two points with six games remaining in the regular season.

Published in Volume 63, Number 17 of The Uniter (January 22, 2009)

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