Nathan Crosby, Sports Editor Ω
The men’s volleyball team fell to 1-7 after putting forth a gutsy effort against the third-ranked Manitoba Bisons over the weekend.
Fans got on the Bisons early in both games but Manitoba was able to leave undefeated with an 8-0 record after beating TRU 3-2 on Nov. 18 and 3-1 on Nov. 19 at the Tournament Capital Centre.
“It’s a tough building to play in,” Bisons head coach Garth Pischke said.
“For us to keep our composure and our concentration and even feed off some of the things going on in here, I thought we did a great job of that.”
Pischke’s son, Dane, got the brunt of many heckler’s chants, including being called a ‘daddy’s boy.’
The right-side hitter answered with 16 kills in 38 attempts on Nov. 18 to lead his team to the first of two victories.
Despite TRU’s slow start, the ‘Pack got back into the game and forced a fifth set, only to end up short of the upset; 25-17, 22-25, 26-24, 20-25, 15-8.
The next day, the WolfPack had another slow start and weren’t able to keep up with the Bisons until the third set.
Despite a lack of discipline by the Bisons, who were issued a yellow card in the third for tossing the ball in anger, Manitoba dominated the fourth to win the game; 25-15, 25-18, 24-26, 25-17.
“We really have to figure out a way to keep pushing through,” rookie outside hitter Brad Gunter said.
“We’re up and down a lot as a team as a whole, we got to figure something out there.
There were some really good moments for us but they got on a few runs that put us in trouble.”
Gunter was named player of the first game of the weekend and could have been named it again in the Nov. 19 game if not for Colin Carson’s strong presence and 30 assists.
“I thought Gunter was a lot better than we expected,” Bisons coach Pischke said.
“I haven’t seen him play that much before and he showed a lot of character on the floor and was a tough guy to stop and I don’t think we really did.”
Gunter led the ‘Pack in the second game, and finished with 16 kills in 35 chances with four digs and a block assist.
“I think we expected more from the other side of the net to get us fired up,” WolfPack head coach Pat Hennelly said, adding that the energy level might have been a factor working against his team.
“As a young team that’s something we have to address, who’s going to lead the charge?”
Hennelly let assistant coach Chad Grimm lead the team for Saturday’s game, saying the team needed a change for the night.
Hennelly said he lost his temper in Friday’s game and wanted to keep his emotions in check, which is why he demoted himself for the night.
As always, the WolfPack volleyball team did their best to make the Bisons uncomfortable, and it worked in their favour in the third set.
The Bisons answered back in the fourth, lead by left-side hitter Chris Voth doing a Teemu Selanne fist pump in what could be seen as a jab back at the crowd hecklers.
Manitoba won, but the ‘Pack is turning the TCC into a nightmare for even the best in the West.