CIS men’s volleyball Saturday roundup: No. 1 Bears’ perfect record blemished by Wesmen


Jan 10, 2015

Photo credit Winnipeg Athletics

Away Home Status
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Source: Alberta Sports Info

EDMONTON – The No.1 ranked University of Alberta Golden Bears volleyball team saw their undefeated season come to an end Saturday night with their first conference loss of the year to the No.5 ranked Winnipeg Wesmen in four sets (23-25, 15-25, 25-22, and 21-25). It was the first regular season loss for the Bears since February 7, 2014.

The Bears are now 15-1 on the season and remain atop the Canada West standings while Winnipeg is in a tie for second with Trinity Western at 12-4.

The Bears were led offensively by fourth-year outside hitter Ryley Barnes, who kept the Bears around all night with 14 kills. The CIS leader in assists, third-year setter Brett Walsh, added 40 more to his total to make it 672 on the season. He also had two solo blocks and two block assists to help out defensively. The Bears were led in digs by fourth-year right side Kevin Proudfoot with six.

The Wesmen, meanwhile, continued to get stronger as the game wore on and were led offensively for the second-straight night by fifth-year outside hitter Thomas Douglas-Powell who had a huge offensive game with 21 kills to lead Winnipeg. Joshua McKay had 45 assists for the Wesmen and Logan Brennan had a game-high seven digs.

The first set saw a quick start from the Bears as fourth-year outside Ryley Barnes had two big kills, both teams trading some early service errors in the set. Alberta led most of the set, getting a strong block from second-year middle Arran Chambers to make it 12-8 Bears, but Winnipeg replied with three straight points to draw back to 12-11. Kevin Proudfoot had a big kill from the outside to put Alberta ahead 16-14 at the technical timeout, but Winnipeg battled back again to tie it at 16. Taylor Arnett put it off the Wesmen block to give Alberta the lead back at 18-16 and Barnes hit it off a block and out to give Alberta a 19-16 lead. The Wesmen continued to keep things close, though, as Alberta was on the net to tie the set at 21 and Bears head coach Terry Danyluk tried to change momentum with his first timeout. A big serve from Thomas Douglas-Powell that the Bears were unable to keep in play made it 23-21 Winnipeg, but his next serve went long to make it 23-22 before a back row hit from Douglas-Powell made it 24-23 and the Wesmen then won the set off a nice finish off an Alberta block from outside hitter Adrian Dyck.

Alberta quickly got to it in the second set off a Proudfoot hit and a Winnipeg error, followed by a big stuff from Barnes on Douglas-Powell, making it 4-1 Bears early. A back row hit from David Bommersbach helped Winnipeg back within a point at 6-5, but a huge block from Barnes followed by a tip from Arnett and the Bears started to settle in to the set and went up 10-5. Brett Walsh then had a solo stuff on the outside to move the Bears ahead 13-7, which was followed by a Proudfoot kill and a Wesmen timeout at 14-7 Alberta. The Bears jumped ahead 18-11 on an Arnett finish from the middle and Nickifor followed up with a left side hit off the block as Alberta jumped up again 20-12, prompting a Winnipeg timeout. Arnett then crushed a hit off the Wesmen block making it 23-13 Bears. Chambers sent the Wesmen running again and made it 24-13 and Alberta finished the set when the Edmonton native scored again off the block to end it 25-15 Alberta.

The third set began quite evenly as the teams battled back and forth. Brett Walsh had a huge block to make it 7-6 Alberta before a sneaky tip over the Wesmen block by Barnes made it 8-6. Then, an ace from Nickifor continued the run to 9-6. Walsh had yet another block on a long ball to continue his solid net play and make it 10-8 Bears. Winnipeg battled back to tie it at 13 and then took the lead on a net violation at 14-13. A huge hit from Riley Delavu continued the Wesmen run to 17-13 and a kill from Matthew Dueck made it 20-15, followed by a hit off the Alberta block at 21-15. A Proudfoot hit kept Alberta in it at 22-17, but another kill by Dueck gave it back to the Wesmen and the Bears then put it off the net, making it 24-18. Barnes kept the Bears alive with a hit off the block to make it 24-20 Winnipeg. A Wesmen timeout couldn’t stop the Bears either as Chambers and Proudfoot had successive blocks to make it 24-22, but Winnipeg would come away with the set off a Brendan Black finish, 25-22 Wesmen.

The Bears were not ready to give up their first loss of the season so soon though, as they came out swinging hard and often in the fourth. Barnes had two quick kills to help Alberta to a 5-3 lead. Winnipeg battled back to level things at five. Winnipeg would go on a run, jumping up 11-8 on the Bears after a long serve, but Barnes quickly responded with a kill and then a great serve, which forced the Wesmen right into a huge block by Chambers to make it 11-10 Wesmen. A short serve by Joshua McKay just crept over the net and the Wesmen continued to increase their lead to 15-11. The Bears got the deficit back down to three at 17-14 off a long hit from Winnipeg. Yet the Wesmen again kept pushing forward, forcing the final timeout from Terry Danyluk, down 20-15. Dueck powered the ball off a Bears block to make it 23-19 Wesmen and Douglas-Powell did the same a point later to give the Wesmen match point and they would finish it off with a kill by Brendan Black to give Winnipeg the set and the match 25-21.

The Golden Bears are on the road next weekend as they head to Winnipeg to take on the University of Manitoba Bisons, returning home to the SCSC on January 23-24 against the University of Regina Cougars. The Wesmen stay in the province in next weekend’s action, heading south to contend with the Calgary Dinos.

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Scott Harrigan
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