The Brandon University Bobcats women’s volleyball team showed off its Jekyll and Hyde complex again on Thursday.
Just five days after looking like the club had turned the corner for the better, the Bobcats slipped back into the recent habit of not looking prepared. Brandon (5-6) was outplayed in every aspect of Thursday’s Canada West match at the Healthy Living Centre as it fell 3-0 (25-14, 25-15, 25-13) to the visiting Winnipeg Wesmen (3-7).
Brandon’s inability to play well isn’t anything new. The Bobcats were swept in a weekend set against the Mount Royal Cougars two weeks ago and lost a match they should have won last week against the Calgary Dinos. However, it’s something that’s become a point of frustration.
"We seem to think that the team we’re playing, if they have a worse record than us, then we’re automatically going to win and that’s just not how it is in this league," said Victoria Dakin, who captains the Bobcats with setter Kellie Baker. "We show that we’re really good sometimes and we’re not so good other times, and when we’re good, we’re really good and when we’re bad, we’re really bad. We need to find a happy medium between the two or else we’re not going to have a playoff season."
Finding a way to get his team to be consistent is the biggest challenge facing BU head coach Lee Carter. He’s pointed the finger squarely at himself and admitted if there was an easy solution to the Bobcats’ problems, then he would write a book about how to fix it and make millions.
Instead Carter’s trying little ways to get things going. That was evident on Thursday when he benched starting middle Lexi Loewen in favour of rookie Brandonite Jodie Baker for the final two sets.
He also sat Kellie Baker and left side Chloe Reimer for most of the third set.
The moves didn’t work yesterday, but Carter maintains that they weren’t an attempt to send a message to his starters.
"We’re not playing any mind games," he said. "We’re just seeing who’s going to win for us at that point. Those girls are working really hard trying to figure out what they can do. If the A-side’s not going, then we need to try to find somebody from the other side who is that spark. Brooke (Huculak) was that spark last weekend in our serving, but this weekend, nothing seemed to work. We just couldn’t get out of neutral."
Dakin, who led the Bobcats with nine kills, said Brandon’s inconsistent effort is a player issue and they need to start pushing each other and themselves a little harder.
She also knows how important it is for Brandon to get back to .500 by beating the Wesmen in Winnipeg on Saturday so they can head out on their Christmas break on a positive note.
"We don’t have a good feeling within the team and in the team room right now," she said. "That win needs to happen. We also can’t put too much pressure on it because, as we’ve seen, then we don’t deal with it that well."
CAT SCRAPS: LS Ozana Nikolic led Winnipeg with 17 kills, while Carleen Kruschel added 16. Meaghan Robertson had seven kills for BU … Brandonite Hope Schneider, who has started every match for Winnipeg as a setter, missed yesterday’s meeting because of the flu. Fellow Brandonite Zoe Pellerin did not play either.