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Bison spikers up to the challenge

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The U of M Bisons men’s volleyball team is headed into a tough couple of games out west, but the team’s coach is confident.

Head coach Cam Johnson said his team would be tested when they faced off against top-seated University of British Columbia.

"Test our training, test our system, test our team," Johnson said. "The foundation is that you want to go out there and win, but you want to play well and do great things."

Unfortunately, things didn’t come together for the Bisons, as they fell to the UBC Thunderbirds 3-2 on Fri., Nov. 1  and 3-0 on Sat., Nov. 2.  

While Johnson said the team is progressing since the beginning of the season, they have a mix of highs and lows. In the University of Regina’s pre-season tournament the Bisons lost all of their games, but they won Queen’s University’s pre-season tournament, defeating the University of Montreal, Queen’s, and the University of New Brunswick.

In that tournament, Bisons co-team captain Kenny Rooney was named MVP.

"The weekend before in Regina we weren’t clicking as a team very well, and (after) just over a week of practice we went to Queen’s and everything was just going really well," said Rooney, 19.

"It was just nice to see that improvement really quick, and getting MVP... it was part of it but it’s not what stands out. It’s just, the whole team getting better was awesome."

Johnson said Rooney is a great captain for the team because he leads by example.

"He’s not going to panic, and when he gets opportunities he makes the most of them," Johnson said.

"That brings out confidence, and confidence can be contagious to the team."

Leading by example allows Rooney to be a quiet leader, but Johnson said he is also able to make his voice heard when necessary.

"I have the power to get our team out of ruts when we are in them. I just want to lead by example," said Rooney.

"I just want to be the player on the floor that I would want to have around."

From Nov. 8 to 9 the Bisons will be on the road to take on the University of Saskatchewan, which is another tough competitor for the Bisons, Johnson said.

"They are kind of the same story (as UBC), and then the next weekend it’s Brandon, who are in the top three" Johnson said.

"So it’s just one after another till Christmastime, so we’re trying to look at it like we are a young team but we are trying to learn fast."

Rooney said he and the team are ready.

"We’ve got nothing to lose," Rooney said. "We are going into these weekends with a chance to win and lots to learn about ourselves."

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