Sam Tuivai of the Brandon Bobcats spikes the ball past the arms of Caleb Eschbach of the Regina Cougars during Saturday’s Canada West volleyball match at the Brandon University Healthy Living Centre. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
When Roy Ching was first recruited to join the Brandon University Bobcats men’s volleyball team, he was expecting to battle for the starting setter position.
However, his versatility became his greatest asset as he started most of last season at right side and was a backup middle during last year’s run to a Canada West crown and a national bronze medal.
On the weekend, the second-year New Zealand import finally got a chance to start at setter and made the most of it by leading Brandon to a pair of Canada West victories over the visiting Regina Cougars. The Bobcats completed the weekend sweep with a 3-0 (25-13, 25-19, 25-13) victory on Saturday night at the Healthy Living Centre.
After struggling with consistency Friday, Ching looked a lot more at home Saturday.
"It’s been a bit of a different experience, but there’s many strong players and leaders out there to help me out," said Ching, who had 36 assists, three blocks and a kill. "It’s been fun this weekend … I’ve been thrown around a few different roles, but it’s nice to settle in one position at the moment."
The Bobcats (2-0), ranked fourth in the country, dominated their match against the Cougars (0-2). Brandon came out firing with Sam Tuivai recording five of his 14 kills in the first set and Sebastien Steigmeier serving up three straight aces and the Bobcats didn’t look back. Steigmeier finished with four aces, 10 kills and 11 digs, while Dan Boutwell had a team-high four blocks. Andrew Nelson led the Cougars with nine kills.
Since the Cougars aren’t a team expected to compete for the Canada West title, the Bobcats knew it was important to win both matches. While they dominated Saturday, Ching admits there is still a lot of room for improvement.
"We can really take some of the things that we can work on, like at times we struggled a little bit with passing on the first night and attacking and blocking at times," he said. "All in all it was a good effort and just some good all-around reps."
The Bobcats know the big test comes this weekend when they visit the Alberta Golden Bears (2-0), who are ranked No. 1 in the country.
"It’s one of the situations where every time we step on the court we need to be better," BU head coach Grant Wilson said. "We were better today than we were yesterday and we have a few days to get better again because we’re going to have to be better next week when we get there.
"Every weekend’s a big test in Canada West, but Alberta is always the benchmark it seems for several years. We’ll go out there and play as hard as we can and see how it goes."
CAT SCRAPS: Brandonite Daryl McCharles made his season debut in the third set and had a kill. New recruits Mack Mravnik and Ty Moorman also made their first appearances in the third set, with Moorman recording a kill.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 28, 2013