THE Manitoba Bisons won the 2011-12 Duckworth Challenge on Wednesday night at the University of Winnipeg Duckworth Centre.
The Duckworth Challenge is a for-fun competition held within regular Canada West conference play between the men's and women's basketball and volleyball teams from Winnipeg and Manitoba.
In the volleyball competition, coach Diane Scott's No. 5-ranked Wesmen (13-6) defeated the No. 6-ranked Bisons (9-8), coached by Ken Bentley, 25-11, 25-22, 25-18 in the women's match.
In the men's match, coach Garth Pischke's No. 2-ranked Bisons (15-2) defeated the No. 10-ranked Winnipeg Wesmen (7-12), coached by Larry McKay, 25-20, 25-18, 25-23.
The basketball portion, held Dec. 1, 2011 at the U of M Investors Group Athletic Centre, resulted in a split. The Wesmen women's team and the Bisons men's team each won their respective games. The Challenge ended in a tie which meant Manitoba, the defending champion, retained the title.
The players of the game were fifth-year players Kristi Hunter of Manitoba (11 kills, seven digs) and Lauren Sears (nine kills, two digs) of Winnipeg in the women's match.
Scott said having Sears, who is from Nova Scotia, for five years has been "a huge turning point" for the Wesmen women's team.
"You need players like Lauren in your environment who show they are willing to grow with the program. She's the consummate team leader who works hard every day," Scott said.
The players of the game in the men's match were libero Derek Nieroda of Manitoba (19 digs) and fifth-year setter Zach Diboll of Winnipeg (20 assists).