The current chill in the air is being balanced by the action heating up on the volleyball court as the both the Brandon University Bobcats men’s and women’s volleyball teams’ seasons are well under way.
It’s been a tale of two different starts for the teams so far this season. The men’s team is off to a strong start, while the women’s team is still finding their way.
The women’s Bobcats team started the year with two wins and four losses. They opened the season at home with two losses against the University of Saskatchewan (3-2 and 3-0), split with University of British Columbia at home (lost 3-0, won 3-1), and split on the road against Mount Royal (lost 3-1, won 3-1). The Bobcats came close to coming out of that stretch with a 3-3 record, as they led their season-opening game against the U of S Huskies two sets to one before falling in five.
The Bobcats also hosted the University of Calgary this past weekend where they were swept for the second time this season. They dropped the first game to Calgary 3-0, and followed that with a 3-1 loss on Saturday. The result left them in 12th place with four points in the Canada West Universities Athletic Assocation (Canada West) standings.
Brandon will end their pre-Christmas schedule with road trips against UBC Okanagan (1-7) and the University of Winnipeg (2-6). A strong performance against both of those teams could position the Bobcats for a strong push in the second half of the season.
The Bobcats men’s team got off to a solid start this season, going 4-2 in their first six matches – this despite the injury bug making its way through the team. Through the opening eight games of the Canada West season, the team sits third with 12 points; two points behind Trinity Western and six behind the first-place University of Alberta.
“The start to the year has been OK,” says head coach Grant Wilson. “We have struggled with some health issues, but have still been competitive in all matches and have found some success on the court regardless of who’s been in our line up.”
They began the 2018-19 campaign with a sweep at home over the U. of S. Huskies (3-1, 3-0) and followed that with two victories over UBC (3-0, 3-1). They then suffered two straight losses to Mount Royal (3-0, 3-1), leaving them with identical records after the first three weeks of the season.
At home this past weekend, the Bobcats men’s team also hosted the U. of Calgary, where they improved their season record to 6-2 with two 3-0, straight-set victories over the Dinos.
The men’s team also finishes the 2018-portion of the season with two straight road trips against UBC Okanagan (0-8) and the University of Winnipeg (2-4).
The Bobcats will be looking to build on what they have accomplished so far. Their aim is to be playing their best volleyball when it counts in late winter.
“Our goal is to keep getting better each week and by the end of the season be in a playoff position and be playing our best volleyball,” noted Wilson. “If we do that, we feel we have the ability to compete with anyone.”
Wilson says the team has some true leaders on this year’s team, and they are an important cog in the Bobcat machine.
“Our two captains are Brady Nault and James Weir. Both are fifth year players and have been significant players for our team for quite some time,” says Wilson. “Overall, we have other good leaders as well with fourth-year players like Seth Friesen, Mason Metcalf and Reece Dixon.
“On and off the court our leaders have been good examples for our younger players and they have really solidified the culture we want for our group,” he added.