Wesmen women’s volleyball team defeats top-ranked Pandas, splits weekend matches

U of W’s men take two losses against Bears over homestand

Wesmen Brayden Duff goes for the spike in the U of W men’s volleyball squad’s loss to the University of Alberta’s Golden Bears. Dylan Hewlett

The University of Winnipeg’s Wesmen hosted the University of Alberta’s volleyball teams on Jan. 28 and 29. Both of Alberta’s teams, the male Golden Bears and female Pandas, are strong this season and ranked above Winnipeg. 

Wesmen men’s head coach Larry McKay said that going into the weekend, the Wesmen were looking forward to taking on the No. 2 ranked Bears. 

“We were excited to play one of the best teams in the country in front of friends and family,” he said.

Despite their excitement to host Alberta, the Wesmen men fell to losses in three sets on both Friday and Saturday night. On Friday, they were defeated 25-19, 25-22, 25-16, and on Saturday they lost 25-15, 25-22, 25-22. 

Despite the losses, McKay was pleased with how his team performed. 

“The game Saturday was close except for the last nine points of the first set,” McKay said. “We had two lapses in our performance where Alberta scored nine points (first set) and then five points (third set). Other than that we were equal to their challenge.”

On Saturday night, Winnipeg’s Marc Ross and Matt Dueck each had 10 kills.

Wesmen libero Nathaniel Therrien had 10 defensive digs and setter Dan Lother came up with 38 assists on the night.

“It was a huge win for our team Saturday night – a total team effort that showed we are still getting better, and at the right time.”

Diane Scott, head coach, Wesmen women’s volleyball

On the women’s side, the Wesmen came out of the weekend with a split. 

After coming up short against the No. 6 ranked Pandas on Friday night (losing 25-14, 25-18, 25-16), the Wesmen turned things around in Saturday’s match. 

On Saturday night, Winnipeg lost a close first set to Alberta 24-26, and came back to take the second set, 25-21.

In the third set, the Pandas managed to defeat Winnipeg 21-25. 

The final two sets were hard fought by both teams, but the Wesmen managed to take both the fourth and fifth sets (25-22, 16-14) to capture the match win.

Head coach Diane Scott was proud of her team’s performance on Saturday night, as defeating a top 10 team was important for the Wesmen as playoffs approach.

“It was a huge win for our team Saturday night,” she said. “A total team effort that showed we are still getting better, and at the right time. ”

Winnipeg’s Lauren Sears led her team with 21 kills and six blocks, followed closely by Carleen Kruschel who had 18 kills.

Wesmen fans also witnessed impressive performances by rookie setter Brittany Habing and Wesmen libero Danielle Bulloch. Habing contributed 50 assists and four service aces, while Bulloch had 22 defensive digs.

The Wesmen men’s volleyball team’s record now sits at 2-12, while the women’s team’s record improves to 4-10. 

Winnipeg’s volleyball teams will travel to play against the Thompson Rivers Wolfpacks for the first weekend of February.

Published in Volume 65, Number 18 of The Uniter (February 3, 2011)

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