Magic first touch propels BU past Winnipeg


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The Brandon University Bobcats are scary when their passes fall on JJ Love’s forehead.

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The Brandon University Bobcats are scary when their passes fall on JJ Love’s forehead.

Couple that with one of their best serving nights of the Canada West men’s volleyball season on Friday and you get a 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-22) blowout of the Winnipeg Wesmen.

“We have a great passing corps,” said Love, who posted 33 assists and two kills. “All our left sides, our liberos all pass great and tonight it just came together. We really took advantage of it. “… Every game you got to come with that fire and desire to win and tonight was just our night. We took care of every little aspect and we played great.”

Philipp Lauter and Paycen Warkentin sparked the Bobcats (5-6) early with back-to-back blocks to lead 4-1. Love didn’t have to do a ton as BU had seven kills and three errors but racked up six blocks and eight digs in a dominant defensive set.

Winnipeg (6-5) missed seven serves and made eight attacking errors, rendering a comeback impossible.

“All credit to (head coach) Grant (Wilson),” Love said. “He was telling us where to go, we followed instructions and the results just came with it.”

The Bobcats’ offence was the story of the second set. They passed better than they have all year and attacked from every spot on the court. seldom letting the Wesmen score while serving to pull ahead 21-16.

Oak River’s Liam Kristjanson served Winnipeg back within three when Love casually set the ball sideways and into the open court for his second kill of the set. Two points later, two blockers went up with Love and left Lauter wide open, which isn’t smart. He buried it, then made the set-winning block to go ahead 2-0.

Brandon put up 17 kills with five errors, hitting .387 in the set while Winnipeg hit .286.

“The first set set the tone,” Warkentin said. “We came out pretty hot and then it felt like they needed to change up their game, started rolling more and we started capitalizing on when they just tipped and rolled it over.”

The third set was neck and neck until Rylan Metcalf served BU on a short run to lead 16-13. Max Brook added an ace as the Bobcats scored a few more points on the next rotation, forcing Wesmen coach Rob Olfert’s second timeout down 19-14.

Winnipeg’s veteran setter, who returned from a few weeks out of the lineup to play right side last week, subbed in and quarterbacked his team back to 24-22 as Wilson expended both of his timeouts.

But the Bobcats came back with one perfect pass, a quick set to a soaring Warkentin for his sixth kill of the night and a team-high .556 hitting percentage. Lauter notched eight kills and also had just one error, hitting .500.

“Once we take care of the first touch, me and Philipp can go to work and do our thing,” Warkentin said. “They’re a really good team and it feels good to get a 3-0 victory.”

Brook had a team-high 10 kills with six errors for Brandon while Kristjanson led all scorers with 12 kills, four errors and an ace.

Jens Watt dug a match-high seven balls for Brandon. BU hit .317 to Winnipeg’s .200.

The Bobcats — who have won four of their last five matches — close the first semester against the Wesmen in Winnipeg today at 6:45 p.m.

“We’re definitely looking for the sweep here,” Warkentin said. “It’d be good to go into the Christmas break .500.”


» Twitter: @thomasmfriesen

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