There’s an old adage in sports that you can’t lose your job as a starter to injury. Craig Lowe is making a case for why the Brandon University Bobcats should consider breaking that rule.
The 21-year-old left side had fantastic matches in his debut in the Bobcats’ starting lineup over the weekend, as the men’s volleyball team swept its weekend Canada West conference set with the Calgary Dinos (2-8) at BU’s Healthy Living Centre. In Saturday’s match, Lowe had 10 kills and four blocks as Brandon (8-2) won 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 25-19).
For Lowe, who’s in his third year, it was pure exhilaration to play a starting role.
"It feels nice," he said. "I kind of forgot what it was like to play a little bit. It’s nice being on the court and when you win a big point you get that adrenalin rush. It feels really good."
Lowe has been plagued with a bit of bad luck in Brandon. After starting 17 of the Bobcats’ 20 Canada West matches in his rookie campaign, he was limited to 11 last season while he battled patella tendinopathy, a chronic injury that involves the degeneration of a knee tendon.
The 6-foot-7, 198-pound Australian hoped he would return to Brandon’s starting lineup this season, but fell behind the team’s leading attacker Sam Tuivai and rookie Rob McLean on the depth chart. Lowe earned some court time when Brandon decided to go with a bigger blocking lineup in some sets, but a knee injury to McLean last week vaulted him into the starting lineup on the weekend.
Lowe didn’t just enjoy his time on the court, he impressed his head coach, Grant Wilson. Wilson liked the way Lowe passed the ball, and loved his team’s effort, as the Bobcats dominated on Saturday night.
"That’s the match we’ve been looking to play," Wilson said. "We’ve talked about it and shown flashes of it, but just haven’t been consistent through a whole match since the first match of the year against Regina. I thought for the most part we were solid in all aspects of our game from start to finish."
Sam Tuivai led Brandon with 12 kills. Roy Ching added seven kills, one ace and three blocks. Greg Mann topped Calgary’s attack with eight kills.
The Bobcats are now tied for second place in Canada West and are riding a five-match winning streak. They hope to continue with their winning ways on Thursday when they host the Winnipeg Wesmen.
"We’re starting to gel as a unit really well now," Lowe said. "It’s feeling really good."