The Brandon University Bobcats didn’t get the result they wanted in the men’s volleyball team’s first match of the pre-season, but they’ve found lots to build on.
The Bobcats dominated for the first set and a half, but cooled off after that in their 3-2 (25-13, 25-23, 17-25, 16-25, 13-15) loss to the University of Saskatchewan Huskies Thursday night at Neelin High School.
While head coach Grant Wilson would have liked to have seen his team close out the match better, he wanted to see what other players would bring to the lineup. He also loved the intensity his players brought early in the match.
"We came out with a lot of energy and enthusiasm and we played with a lot of intensity in the first set and a half," he said. "That’s kind of pre-season volleyball for you. We tinkered with the lineup, as did they, and gave them a bit of momentum, but we can certainly build off of what we saw."
Sam Tuivai led the Bobcats with 13 kills. D.J. McCharles added nine and Dan Boutwell had four kills and five blocks. Scott Neufeld dug up eight balls.
Bobcat setter Garrett Popplestone, who is co-captain along with Boutwell, admitted the team lost its focus as the match went on, but pointed out the players are still learning about each other’s play and are gradually coming together.
"Everyone’s played different styles of volleyball and from different places," he said. "It’s been a learning curve to get around everyone’s perspectives on volleyball. We’re definitely picking up on that with each other and just kind of flowing with it and trying to get better.
"I think we have a lot of positives on our team. We have a lot of great players. Once we get some more games and have more time practising and stuff, I think you’re going to see a lot of good things happening out of this club."
Brandon won’t have a lot of time to recover before it’s next pre-season test. The Bobcats leave today for a tournament in Winnipeg.
Wilson would like to leave Manitoba’s capital with a few wins, but he knows team bonding and improvement are key at this stage of the season.
"The bottom line is we talk about getting better every day," he said. "That’s our goal. We want to win every match, but we’re not going to and that’s just the way it is. We need to learn from it and get better from it every time we step on the floor.
"We’re going to Winnipeg this weekend and we’re looking to be better than we were tonight. Keep improving on the little things that we need to improve on and go from there."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 28, 2012