No. 4 Calgary upsets mighty No. 1 Golden Bears
by Matt Gutsch, U of Alberta Sports Information
Archive photo courtesy David Moll / U of Calgary Athletics: Graham Vigrass had a match-high 14 kills for the Dinos as they swept Alberta in Edmonton
EDMONTON - The No.4 Calgary Dinos men's volleyball team accomplished something on Saturday night that no other team in CIS men's volleyball has done in close to three years...they defeated the No. 1 Alberta Golden Bears in straight sets (25-17, 30-28 and 25-17) in Edmonton.
Graham Vigrass, third-year middle from Calgary, was the star of the upset, banking 14 kills and a 30% attack rating, including two key second set points. Curtis James was the Dinos' heavy hand, pounding 11 kills on 14 attempts in the win.
Calgary-Alberta men's volleyball boxscore
The Bears got 11 kills from Calgary native Thomas Jarmoc, and 12 from Spencer Leiske. Alberta struggled at the service line tonight in particular, registering seven serve errors, four by Leiske, and zero aces.
As a team Alberta had just a 16% attack rating, while the Dinos boasted a 33% overall attack success rate.
Alberta, two-time defending CIS champions, hadn't lost in three straight sets in the Main Gym since the Trinity Western Spartans did it in February of 2007. The Golden Bears were also sporting a 24-match winning streak in conference action coming into tonight, and hadn't lost to the Calgary Dinos since January 25, 2002 in Calgary.
The loss drops the Bears, ranked #1 in the country, to a 1-1 record, while the #4-ranked Dinos now also bear the same mark.
Calgary played well enough to perhaps win the match Friday night as well, but the Golden Bears were always able to do just enough, getting 14 kills from three players, to win the match.
Saturday night, however, Calgary, under the guidance of former Golden Bear Rod Durant, limited the amount of mistakes they made and were able to put Alberta down for the count.
After a quick 25-17 first set win, it seemed like the Bears might make a match of it in the second set. The see-saw battle in the middle frame eventually saw the Dinos jump out to a 24-21 lead, but Alberta put together it's best work to tie the score and take a 26-25 lead.
However, the Dinos got a fortuitous break when an Alberta block sent the ball into the speakers at the Main Gym, giving the Dinos the point. The Bears jumped back out in front at 28-27 and seemed poised to win it, but Vigrass pounded a kill over the Alberta block and onto the floor for another tie score. Vigrass added another kill to put the Dinos on top, and they eventually closed it out when a Dino attack sailed off the Alberta block and off of the court.
That stirring point rally gave the Dinos all the momentum they needed to close off the match 25-17 in the third and become the first team to beat Alberta since the 2007-08 season.
It doesn't get any easier for the Golden Bears next week either, as they host the Thompson Rivers WolfPack, last season's CIS bronze medalists, Saturday and Sunday afternoon next weekend.
The Dinos are on the 'bye' next weekend, and will next host the Manitoba Bisons, November 6-7.