Huskies face Manitoba in final regular season matches

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February 6, 2013, Saskatoon, SK (ISN) – The University of Saskatchewan Huskie volleyball teams will close out the Canada West regular season at home on the weekend.

The Huskies host the University of Manitoba Bisons Friday and Saturday at the PAC.

Match time for the women is set for 6:15 p.m., while the men will play at 8 p.m. All four matches will be webcast at www.canadawest.tv.

MEN’S MATCHUP

In control of their own destiny, the Huskie men’s volleyball team will look to secure a home playoff date against a tough Top 10 opponent.

Already knowing they will make an appearance in the playoffs for the first time since 2006-07, the No. 6 ranked Huskies (14-6) need at least one win against the No. 3 Bisons (13-7) to have any hope of hosting a Canada West volleyball quarter-final. It would be the first time the Huskies have hosted since 2004-05 when Saskatchewan hosted the Canada West Final Four.

Entering the final weekend in the regular season, the Huskies, who have won 11 of their last 12 matches, sit in third place with 28 points. Manitoba is in fourth with 26 points. Depending on the outcomes across Canada West men’s volleyball this weekend including their own series, Saskatchewan or Manitoba could finish as a high as second place or as low as fifth.

In 2012-13 Canada West volleyball, seven teams are granted life in the playoffs. The top team receives a bye through quarter-finals and home court in the Canada West Final Four against the winners of the quarter-finals.

Fourth-year outside hitter Bryan Fraser continues to have a career season tallying 249 kills and 147 digs. He led the Huskies to a sweep of the Regina Cougars last weekend with 38 kills in the series. Fellow outside hitter Paul Thomson is also having a strong offensive season with 207 kills, 98 digs and 23 blocks. Also joining in for the Huskies attack has been middle blocker Braden McLean with 121 kills and 67 blocks.

Manitoba, who is the only team to beat the first place Alberta Golden Bears in 2012-13, balances their attack between Dane Pischke and Evan Jackson. Pischke leads the team with 271 kills, while Jackson adds another 209. The two are also strong on defence with 174 and 147 digs respectively. Joseph Brooks has a presence in the middle with 103 blocks on the season.

Since 1996, the Huskies are 17-24 against Manitoba in Canada West action.

WOMEN’S MATCHUP

Entering the final weekend of the Canada West regular season, the Huskies will look to play spoiler on the University of Manitoba’s playoff hopes in the weekend series.

Manitoba (10-10) is fighting for one of two playoff spots left in women’s volleyball. The Huskies (3-17) will look to finish the season strong and dash the Bisons’ hopes.

Second-year middle block Kayla Tycholiz leads the Huskies with 148 kills and 43 blocks on the season. Captain and fourth-year outside hitter Candace Hueser follows close behind with 147 kills, 58 digs and 24 blocks. Carmen Dubnick and Anne Hanbidge have also chipped in with 74 and 84 kills respectively. Rookie Emily Humbert has been dominant when serving recording 21 aces.

Rachel Cockrell powers the Manitoba offence recording 255 kills in 18 matches. She also adds 98 digs and 36 blocks on the season. Taylor Pischke and Crystal Mulder have also chipped in on the Bisons’ success with 135 and 134 kills each respectively. Nicole Hall has been strong defensively recording 237 digs.

Since 1996, the Huskies are 3-25 in conference play against the Bisons.

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