Canada West Quarter Final: Dinos overcome mistakes, topple Bisons
CALGARY – Despite playing fairly sloppy volleyball, the
University of Calgary Dinos managed a four-set victory in the
opening match of their quarterfinal series against the visiting
The Dinos, who were ranked no. 4 going into the weekend set after finishing 13-5 in regular season action, came out of the gate rather sluggish, especially with their defence. Letting at least three tips fall to the floor and allowing a few over-bump situations with poor passing, the Dinos trailed for the majority of the first set.
However Dinos head coach Rod Durrant’s second timeout while down 22-18 seemed to spark the Dinos, as they mounted an impressive late comeback. With third year outside hitter Curtis James tying it at 23-23 with a nice hit from the right side to cap off a 5-1 run, a pair of big blocks from middles Oleg Podporin and Graham Vigrass completed the late rally, sealing the set win for Calgary.
The Bisons managed to shake off the disappointment of dropping that first set, taking the second set by a gritty 25-23 score. Manitoba took advantage of poor Calgary serving and a variety of Dinos errors, with the majority coming on the attack.
The Dinos finally showed why they are the fourth ranked team in the country in the third set, dominating the Bisons in all facets. Leading 16-8 at the second technical timeout, the Dinos extended their lead to 22-10 at one point before winning by a whopping 13 point margin. The Bisons returned the favour in the third set in committing their own litany of errors for Calgary to take advantage of. David Egan flexed his muscles in the blocking department during the set, leading an impressive Dinos defensive effort at the net.
Carrying over their overpowering play from the third, the Dinos started the fourth set strong before allowing the Bisons back into the game at a variety of junctures with further sloppy play. Manitoba would get close with their gritty play, eventually tying it at 19-19, ending a great rally with a perfectly placed tip. Going back and forth from there, it was Dinos setter Ciaran McGovern who was eventually able to close the set and match, doing a little bit of everything at 26-25 before crushing a kill to finish it off.
Vigrass led the Dinos with 11 kills and seven digs, while James added 10 and five. McGovern added 10 digs from the setter position.
The Bisons were led by Chris Voth, who had 10 kills, while Steve Goertzen and John Galloway combined for 15.
Durrant seemed frustrated despite taking the key first match of the quarterfinals.
“It’s always nice to win the first match, but we just got to clean up some things on our side of the court,” said Durrant. “We have to focus on us and what we’re doing and we need to be better than that.”
“We fought hard in a couple of tight sets, and that first set we served well,” he continued. “We just need to be more consistent and steady throughout the whole entire match.”
The Dinos and Bisons resume their series on Friday evening at 5:30 p.m. at the Jack Simpson Gymnasium, where Calgary can clinch a spot at the Canada West Final Four in Edmonton with a victory.
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