Brandon University’s Roy Ching had eight kills, 17 assists, 14 digs and three blocks as the Bobcats beat the Saskatchewan Huskies 3-2 (21-25, 25-17, 25-21, 16-25, 15-12) at the Healthy Living Centre on Saturday night. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
The Brandon University Bobcats men’s volleyball team made sure they got in as much work as possible in their final weekend before the Christmas break.
The fifth-ranked Bobcats (7-5) followed up their five-set loss on Friday at the Healthy Living Centre with a five-set victory over the 10th-ranked Saskatchewan Huskies (4-8) on Saturday in Canada West conference action. For the second straight night, Brandon led 2-1 after three sets but struggled in the fourth. This time, Sam Tuivai put the team on his back with six of his team-high 20 kills coming in the final set of Brandon’s 3-2 (21-25, 25-17, 25-21, 16-25, 15-12) victory.
Overcoming a rough fourth set was important for the Bobcats to build momentum heading into the holidays.
"It’s a great bounce-back win for our guys," said BU head coach Grant Wilson. "We kind of struggled in the fourth and set ourselves up to be in a fifth set, which we didn’t want to do. But to be able to play like we did in the fifth set and come out with a win will give us some confidence and good feelings going into the break."
While Tuivai got to play hero in the fifth set, Roy Ching had a solid night for the Bobcats. The second-year New Zealander started the match at right side but became the setter in each set when Sebastien Steigmeier was brought off the bench to replace David Stasica and give BU a bigger lineup on the court. Ching finished the match with eight kills, 17 assists, 14 digs and three blocks. Four of those assists and two blocks came in the fifth set.
Ching struggled with switching positions in the middle of a set last year. This season, he’s more comfortable out there going from hitting to setting up teammates, and he’s starting to enjoy the role.
"I’m getting into the groove of it now," he said. "Last year I didn’t really cope with it so well at times, but it’s really coming back to me now and I’m looking forward to it. …It’s more of a mental switch than anything. It’s being aware of who’s hot on the court and who’s playing well and using that to our advantage."
Ty Moorman added nine kills and six blocks for Brandon, while Dan Boutwell had seven blocks. Jordan Nowakowski led Saskatchewan with 23 kills, while Paul Thomson added 14.
After an inconsistent first semester, the Bobcats know they have a lot of work to do before the season resumes with five straight road matches in January.
"We just need to work on being really consistent, especially with serving and passing and our first touch," Ching said. "When we’ve done well with those skills we’ve won games, so we just need to be more consistent in those facets and we’ll be good."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition November 30, 2013