COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN
Bobcats Shanlee McLennan (top) and Lexi Loewen watch a shot from UBC Thunderbirds’ Brina Derksen-Bergen fly past during women’s volleyball Friday evening at Brandon University’s Healthy Living Centre.
The race for a Canada West women’s volleyball playoff spot is heating up, and so is the Brandon University Bobcats’ confidence.
The Bobcats are still on the outside looking in after a 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-21) loss to the top-ranked UBC Thunderbirds at the Healthy Living Centre Friday night, and feel they need to win their final three matches — or two and get some help — to reach the post-season.
However, BU head coach Lee Carter believes his team is playing some of its best volleyball right now and doesn’t want to worry too much about the post-season picture.
"I’m really proud of the way they played that last set," he said. "We played really well against Trinity. Alberta, we had a hard group here. We’re getting better and that’s all you want. Playoffs will take care of themselves and you’re in them or out of them. We can’t control that."
Brandon (8-11) progressively got better as Friday’s match went on. BU struggled in a first set that featured five Bobcat serving errors and three receiving errors, but bounced back with solid play in the back half of the second set and a very tight third set. The Bobcats just couldn’t overcome the Thunderbirds (18-1) in the end.
Victoria Dakin led BU with eight kills. Lexi Loewen chipped in with seven kills and was involved in both of Brandon’s blocks.
Brandonite Lisa Barclay, who was playing in Brandon for the first time since joining UBC three years ago, led the defending national champions with 17 kills, one ace, one block and nine digs.
Brandon knows it will need a better effort in today’s rematch at 5 p.m., but setter Kellie Baker, who finished with 24 assists, believes the same game plan should be fine.
"I think we need to just mull this loss over a little bit and think about how we can change to make tomorrow better, because they’re not going to get worse," she said. "They’re going to get better, so we have to come out a lot better than we were tonight in order to beat the number one team."
Meanwhile, the eighth-ranked Bobcats men’s volleyball team (11-8) secured a playoff spot with a 3-2 (23-25, 25-21, 23-25, 25-21, 15-12) victory over the seventh-ranked UBC Thunderbirds (12-7) at the HLC on Friday night.
Sam Tuivai had 24 kills, Dan Boutwell had 11 kills and six blocks and Roy Ching and Craig Lowe both added 11 kills for BU, which will battle UBC again tonight at 6:45.
Meanwhile at Lethbridge, the Bobcats women’s basketball team (0-17) fell 62-42 to the host Pronghorns (9-8). Carrera Lamoureux scored nine points to lead the Bobcats. In the men’s game, Jordan Reaves scored 31 points for BU in an 86-82 loss to Lethbridge.
CAT SCRAPS: Barclay opened the match with a kill …Gillian Leech played libero for Brandon, filling in for a sick Kendra Bommersbach … Baker was named BU’s female athlete of the month for January. She is seventh in Canada West with 8.73 assists per set. Tuivai earned the male athlete of the month honours. The left side from New Zealand averaged 4.16 kills and 4.76 points per set in January.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 2, 2013