BU’s Meaghan Robertson (left) and Alexis Loewen had four blocks Friday. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
The Brandon University Bobcats pulled off their biggest upset of the Canada West women’s volleyball season with a makeshift lineup Friday night at the Healthy Living Centre.
Despite missing left side Chloe Reimer from the starting lineup, the Bobcats came out firing and defeated the third-ranked Alberta Pandas 3-1 (25-23, 25-19, 10-25, 31-29). It was a huge win for Brandon, which snapped a four-match losing streak.
"It’s good," said Shanlee McLennan, who led Brandon with 18 kills, three aces and eight digs. "Knowing ourselves that we can do it was just the proof that we needed to get through that. We’ve had a few tough games in the past while and that was all right, but it’s good to see the team all band together.
"Everyone individually did what they needed to do and it worked well for us."
The Bobcats were forced to go with a very different lineup as Reimer missed the match after rolling her ankle during practice this week. Without her, BU head coach Lee Carter moved Victoria Dakin to the left side, middle Meaghan Robertson to the right side and started Alexis Loewen and homegrown rookie Jodie Baker at middle. That gave Brandon a bigger lineup and the move paid off as Brandon had six team blocks in the first set and 12 in the match.
Carter also used his bench effectively to give Brandon a better ball-control lineup when it was needed, and got a good performance from everyone he put on the court.
"We were trying to stay big in the front row, which was our idea of moving Meaghan to the outside and she’ll get way better at getting some of those trouble balls," Carter said. "I’m excited for how well she played for only really having one practice.
"The other part was how well the defensive people came in in our mishmash rotations and the ability to stay focused till a 31-29 win."
Dakin had 16 kills for Brandon (6-9), while Baker had three kills and three aces.
Krista Zubick replied with 12 kills for Alberta (11-4). Kacey Otto served up five of the Pandas’ 14 aces.
While the Bobcats were celebrating last night, they know their work isn’t done yet. The two teams go back at it in the Healthy Living Centre today at 5 p.m., and Carter expects a very different Alberta team.
"We need to distribute the ball well and Kellie did a great job of that," Carter said. "I thought Tori was unconscious on left side after being moved and Shanlee was Shanlee.
"For a team that never saw that (lineup) until we showed up, they sure made some great adjustments. Tomorrow they’re going to be more prepared and come out with a vengeance, so we need to be better prepared, too."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 19, 2013