In a game featuring two of the top teams in the nation, the Brandon University Bobcats women’s volleyball team laid an egg Friday night.
Lacking the energy necessary to keep pace with the Trinity Western University Spartans, the second-ranked Bobcats fell in three sets (25-21, 25-10, 25-15) at the Healthy Living Centre to the fourth-ranked team in Canada.
“We know our team well enough to know that they’re going to come back (today) and battle hard. They’re too proud of a group to accept this, so there’s no sense in getting angry about what happened,” Bobcats head coach Lee Carter said. “We need to be ahead of the game, not chasing the game — and not points wise, but in our expectations. We got mesmerized by the ball and were late to react to everything and it just snowballed.”
The Bobcats hung tough in the first set, but they missed five serves and were on the wrong side of the line on a couple of clean attacks, narrowly losing the set. From there, however, one of the best serving teams in the Canada West conference took over.
Carter didn’t make any excuses for his group, deflecting blame on himself.
“I am disappointed in myself in the way that I prepared the team and I’m a little bit shocked at the result of the match, but I’m really excited about where we are going from here,” he said. “Maybe that is the adrenaline injection that we need to pick up our play and realize that we’re going to be in battles the whole time.”
The good news is his team is still in good position to clinch a home playoff series, which could happen as soon as today’s rematch, which starts at 5 p.m.
It will also be the final regular season home game for fifth-year Bobcats Lexi Loewen and Kellie Baker.
Loewen said she’s excited about the opportunity for redemption tonight.
“The team on the court (Friday) I didn’t even recognized at times,” the 6-foot-0 starting middle said.
Victoria Dakin led the Bobcats with nine kills, while Vaovai Aiono and Loewen tied for second with six kills each.
Loewen will finish her university career in front of her family, as her parents, two brothers, aunt, uncle and grandmother all travelled to watch her play.
“It’s nice the fact that they are here,” Loewen said. “It hasn’t really hit me yet. I think after the season is over it will hit me.”
The win moves the Spartans (15-4) one match ahead of the Bobcats (14-5) for second place in Canada West.
Last night also marked the debut for the BU cheer team, turning out a series of stunts that had the crowd cheering.