Volley-Bears sweep WolfPack in weekend series
by Matt Gutsch, U of Alberta Sports Info
EDMONTON - Fourth-years Simon Lidster and Spencer Leiske combined for 11 blocks and 16 kills, helping the No. 1 Alberta Golden Bears volleyball team to a straight sets (25-19, 25-22, and 25-20) win over the Thompson Rivers WolfPack Sunday afternoon in Edmonton.
The win improves Alberta's record to 3-1, while TRU, who claimed the CIS bronze medal last season, drops to 0-2.
Lidster and Leiske, middle and right-side respectively, became a big force for the Golden Bears in the second and third sets, combining for a number of big blocks, and chipping in with powerful offence.
Lidster, a 6'7" Calgary native, finished with six kills on eight attempts and five blocks, while Leiske, a 6'8" middle or right-side attacker from Lacombe, Alberta, pounded a team high 10 kills, as well as a 44% attack rating, Alberta's lone ace, and six blocks.
Fifth-year left side Thomas Jarmoc also had 10 kills in the win, but the difference was clearly blocking as the Bears combined for 15 blocks to TRU's five.
Gord Perrin led the ‘Pack with 13 kills, while Kevin Tillie had 12.
Although the Golden Bears had no blocks in the opening set, they were able to secure the 25-19 win thanks to trouble at the service line for the WolfPack. The WolfPack committed five service errors in the opening frame, easily the difference in the six-point Alberta win.
Leiske and Lidster stepped up their net defence in the second, joining forces for 10 blocks, as the Bears took a turn at committing service errors with six. Although the Bears were struggling at the line, the WolfPack couldn't capitalize on the momentum their hosts were affording them. TRU's attack slipped from 24% as a team in the first set, to 0% in the second as they committed 11 errors, 11 attacks on 30 attempts. Despite struggles by both sides, Alberta's blocking paved the way for a slim 25-22 win, and a two set advantage.
Freshman WolfPack setter Colin Carson spun a pair of aces in the third set, and Tillie and Perrin took turns pounding away at the Alberta blocking game, but the guests from Kamloops, B.C. couldn't overcome the momentum the Golden Bears had generated.
The two teams combined for a number of power-hitting rallies in the third, but Alberta always had an answer for the TRU attack. Whether it was blocking or kills, the Golden Bears were always able to stay ahead of the ‘Pack.
If Lidster wasn't blocking the Wolfpack, he was finding holes in their blocking schemes for clutch points. Leiske and third-year left side Jason DeRocco, who nailed the second set winning point, took turns dealing out damage in the third, but it Christopher Womack, a fourth-year power hitter in his first season with Bears, who cranked the match winning point.
Alberta, two-time national defending champions, are home again next weekend, their third straight home weekend to start the season, this time hosting the 1-1 Winnipeg Wesmen.
The WolfPack will play their home-opener next weekend, welcoming the 0-4 Regina Cougars to Kamloops, B.C.