Huskies Swept by No. 5 Bisons

Photo Credit: Josh Schaefer Photography
Photo Credit: Josh Schaefer Photography

WINNIPEG - The University of Manitoba Bisons fought back from a 2-0 deficit to sweep their doubleheader against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies Saturday night in men's volleyball at Investors Group Athletic Centre with 27-29, 23-25, 25-19, 25-21 and 15–12 final set scores.

The Bisons are now undefeated with a 2-0 record on the young season. With the loss, the Huskies fall to 0-2.

Saskatchewan's Jordan Nowakowski led both teams with 25 kills, while Josh Goossen put up 15 for Manitoba. The teams were more closely matched on digs, with Matthew Erickson putting up 12 for the Huskies, and Adam DeJonckheere tallying eight for the home team.

Missing line judges caused a short delay at the start of the game, but that didn't seem to faze either team. Like Friday night, both clubs came out swinging with powerful attacks. Manitoba's Ken Rooney and Saskatchewan's Nowakowski each had five kills in the evenly matched first set.

"It was really a hard-fought match on both sides," said Bison head coach Garth Pischke after the game. "Great plays, great defense by Saskatchewan. [Nowakowski] did outstanding, much better than yesterday, and that was a big difference for sure."

A well-placed hit from Bison Josh Crellin gave Manitoba a 24-21 advantage, but the home side sat at set point for three rallies before Saskatchewan tied it up with a kill from Troy Wiebe. The Bisons and Huskies traded seven more points before Tyler Epp's attack found the court and Saskatchewan took the set 29-27.

The heated battle continued in the second, but Manitoba couldn't overcome Saskatchewan's offense. The Huskies held a slight lead through most of the set, and despite six kills from Goossen, Saskatchewan took the set 25-23.

"We had both of those first sets," Pischke said. "Really, we had control and could have won both of those sets, but they made the good plays, not us."

But the Bisons weren't done yet. The home side started the third with a 5-1 lead. Saskatchewan later tied the set at 13, but the Bisons fought back and put up four straight points. The Huskies closed the gap to three points but gave up the next rallies on a kill and two attack errors. Manitoba stayed alive and took their first set of the game 25-19.

The Bisons got off to a bit of a slower start in the fourth. Saskatchewan claimed an early 9-4 lead, but Manitoba retaliated. The Bisons tied the game at 9, thanks in part to back-to-back kills from DeJonckheere. The teams fought back and forth through the rest of the set until Manitoba broke out front with a 24-20 lead. A bad set gave the serve back to Saskatchewan, but DeJonckheere kept the Bisons alive with a strong kill to win the set 25-21.

Manitoba kept on winning in the fifth. The home team opened the set with a 4-0 lead and never trailed for the rest of the game. The Huskies fought hard against a strong Bison offense led by DeJonckheere and Falconer, but Manitoba prevailed to win their third straight set 15-12 and the game 3-2.

The Bisons will look to stay undefeated on the road against the UBC Thunderbirds next weekend.

"We've had a tough time playing at UBC. That's a tough building to go into," Pischke said. "It's a good team. They knocked us out of the playoffs last year, and hopefully we can get a little revenge."

The teams will play on Friday, Oct. 23 at 9:30 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 24 at 8:30 p.m.