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Bison volleyball squads sweep and get swept on home court

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ONE night after the University of Manitoba men’s volleyball team gave the surging University of Alberta a run for their money, they couldn’t muster much magic Saturday evening.

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ONE night after the University of Manitoba men’s volleyball team gave the surging University of Alberta a run for their money, they couldn’t muster much magic Saturday evening.

The Bisons fell to the top-ranked Golden Bears 3-1 at the Investors Group Athletic Centre, dropping their record to 6-10 on the campaign. Alberta (15-1) swept the two-game mini-series, prevailing 3-2 on Friday night in a thriller that saw Manitoba start the match with a 2-0 lead.

A winless weekend leaves the Bisons to idle at 12 points with eight matches remaining in the dwindling season, in ninth place and one spot outside the Canada West playoff picture.

Yet, Manitoba appears to be high in spirits after giving the Golden Bears all they could handle one night then claiming one set the next.

“It showed a lot,” said Eric Ogaranko, who finished with a match-high 14 kills Saturday. “Our league is really tight and the record doesn’t always show the whole story. The first game of the year, it was a similar story with Trinity (Western). We were big underdogs and lost in five (sets) and four (sets). It sucks to get the loss but, obviously, we competed hard and we’re proud that we were able to hang in with the reigning national champs.”

It’s been a rollercoaster season for the Bisons, who have lost five of their last eight matches. The bright side is the program is still well and alive in the postseason race and has a favourable home stretch, with three of their final four opponents’ records below .500.

Lupo Ludwig is hoping his squad, which has been injury riddled for much of the season, can return to full strength in the coming weeks.

“I think what it shows is we can really compete on the highest level,” said head coach Lupo Ludwig of the team’s moments of success this weekend. “Alberta is the No. 1 team and they beat trinity last week 3-0, 3-0. I think we played really well. There are a few smaller things that I think we have to do better, we will do better and that we have to learn from this game.

“We’ve played the top four teams already. Next weekend, we have another good team and then the last six games, this is when we have to show what we showed this weekend. We’re gonna have a little bit of an easier program in the second half of the schedule and hopefully, we can take advantage of that.”

The Manitoba women’s squad had a better go of things this weekend, sweeping the Alberta Pandas in a two-game series at IGAC.

The Bisons’ 3-0 win Saturday night extended the team’s win streak to four and cemented them in the thick of the playoff race at 10-6. The high-flying women are getting hot at the right time and are now 8-2 in their last 10 matches, tied for third in Canada West with 20 points.

Second-year setter Katreena Bentley led the way with 37 assists, two service aces and four digs.

Both Bisons squads are headed to Saskatoon next weekend for two matches against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, whose men’s team is 10-5 while the women are 7-9.

Across the city, the University of Winnipeg squads were in Calgary to play the Dinos.

The Wesmen women’s team swept the weekend slate to improve to 11-5 on the season, good for third in Canada West. The men (6-10) saw their misfortunes continue, as they lost both matches, now dropping six consecutive.

jJfreysam@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @jfreysam

Joshua Frey-Sam

Joshua Frey-Sam
Reporter

Joshua Frey-Sam happily welcomes a spirited sports debate any day of the week.

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Updated on Monday, January 16, 2023 1:24 PM CST: Adds headline

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