The Brandon University Bobcats women’s and men’s volleyball teams sit in different predicaments as they prepare for the second half of the season.
The women’s team has some work to do to get into a playoff position, while the men’s team is jostling for top spot in Canada West division interuniversity play.
The women’s team has stumbled somewhat after a decent 2-4 start to the season, going 1-5 in their pre-Christmas schedule to put up three wins and nine losses, tying them for 11th place and putting them three games out of the eighth and final playoff position.
The Bobcats ended their pre-Christmas schedule with two losses to second-place Calgary (3-0, 3-0), a split with UBC Okanagan (lost 3-1, won 3-2), and on the bottom side of a two-game sweep in Winnipeg at the University of Manitoba (3-2, 3-1). Manitoba is tied for the eighth and final playoff spot with a 5-7 record, which makes those setbacks all the more devastating to the Bobcats’ playoff prospects.
Statistically, Brandon’s Nikala Majewski is second in Canada West in both kills per set (4.27) and kills overall (205). Sophomore Michelle Egger is second in kills for the Bobcats with 2.24 per game and 101 overall. Sophmore Caitlin Le leads the team in digs with 165, followed by Majewski with 124. Junior Jamie Bain leads the Bobcats in assists with 281, ahead of senior Alexa Shoults who has 157.
The Bobcats will begin their quest to get back into the playoff picture with a home set against the undefeated, first-place 12-0 Trinity Western on Jan. 4 and 5.
The men’s team, meanwhile, is just a game out of first place, rocketing to a 10-2 mark to start the year, one game back of 11-1 Alberta for top spot.
The Bobcats are on a six-game winning streak, sweeping the Universities of Calgary, UBC Okanagan and Manitoba – all by identical 3-0 scores.
Not surprisingly, the Bobcats have several statistical leaders in Canada West. Sophomore Elliott Viles (.348) and freshman Robin Baghdady (.333) are second and third respectively in hitting percentages, while junior Mason Metcalf is second in blocks per set with 1.38. As well, junior Reece Dixon leads all Canada West in assists per set with 10.95.
The Bobcats get back in action on Jan. 4 and 5 by hosting third-place Trinity Western in a key matchup to kick off 2019. Trinity Western sports a 9-1 record and have two games in hand on the Bobcats, which makes this a key matchup coming out of the Christmas break.
The next weekend it gets even tougher. The Bobcats head west to take on the first-place University of Alberta.
At Assiniboine Community College, both men’s and women’s teams have a similar story in the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference.
The ACC Cougar women have two wins and six losses to start the year. They opened the season with two losses to Red River College (3-2, 3-1), two losses to the University of St. Boniface (3-0, 3-2), two setbacks to the Canadian Mennonite University (3-0, 3-1), and beat Providence University College two straight times (3-0, 3-0).
The Cougar men’s team is tied for second place with a 4-4 record. They began the season with a sweep over Red River College (3-0, 3-1), split with the University of St. Boniface (won 3-2, lost 3-2), dropped a pair of matches to undefeated Canadian Mennonite University (3-0, 3-0), and split with Providence University College (lost 3-1, won 3-2).
Both the men’s and women’s teams will be back in action on Jan. 11 against the University of St. Boniface.