Setter Kellie Baker and the Bobcats are in action tonight in B.C. (FILE PHOTO)
The only Brandon University Bobcats team to not play an exhibition contest over the Christmas break will be the first team to resume its conference schedule this week.
The Bobcats women’s volleyball team returns to Canada West action today when they visit the second-ranked Trinity Western Spartans for the first of two matches in Langley, B.C.
After using the break to practise and scrimmage, BU head coach Lee Carter feels his team’s hard work will pay off and they will be well-prepared for a tough second-half schedule.
"Practices have been going really well," Carter said. "We’ve been keying on our offence a lot here. We’ve been playing against some boys teams, like the Extreme 17U boys team and BVC 18U boys team.
"We’re trying to hit against a bigger block and get used to the fact it’s going to be bigger hands in front of us than we’ve seen in the past."
Beating a bigger block will be important for the Bobcats as they will face the top three teams in the conference — and in the country — this semester. Two of those three are ranked in the top three in blocking as well.
Brandon (5-7) needs to have a strong finish to the season to have any hope of securing a playoff spot, and it all begins tonight against Trinity Western (10-2).
The match won’t be easy as the Spartans average the most hits and blocks per set and have the second-best hitting percentage in the conference.
Carter, however, feels the Spartans may be ripe for the picking as they dropped their second-last match before the Christmas break and lost two of their four exhibition contests last week.
"There’s a lot of doubt starting to creep into them, or at least that’s what we’re hoping for," Carter said. "So if we can put some pressure on them early then I think this will make a big difference for us."
Carter is hoping for at least a split this weekend, although he knows that will be tough. He’s also hoping a 40-day break between matches will help give his players energy, and he knows they’re champing at the bit to get back on the court after the lengthy layoff.
"I think they’re feeling pretty good," he said. "They work hard. You get tired of practising against each other, and that’s why (scrimmages against) the guys are fun. We’ll see how it goes."
The seventh-ranked Bobcats men’s volleyball team (9-3) also returns to action today as they visit the third-ranked Spartans (10-2). The Bobcats will debut their new lineup after former starting left side Rob McLean and back-up middle Randy Preval left the team during the Christmas break because of personal reasons.
Brandon’s basketball teams will also return to action in the Canada West conference on home court this weekend with Friday matchups against the Mount Royal Cougars and Saturday games versus the UNBC Thunderwolves.
See tomorrow’s Brandon Sun for more.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 10, 2013