By Carly McKay
The opening weekend of CIS volleyball action saw the Dinos men visiting the Trinity Western University Spartans in an early Canada West battle. Looking to improve over last season’s matches versus the Spartans, in which the Dinos were a miserable 0-3, the team came out swinging on Fri., Nov. 5.
After dropping the opening set 25-18, the Dinos rebounded with strong play at the net in the second. Down 13-6, Head Coach Greg Ryan called a time-out that proved to be the turning point, as his squad scored seven consecutive points and eventually held on to win 25-22.
The third and fourth sets also went to the visiting team, 25-18 and 25-23. Eric von Engelbrechten lead the Dino attack with a match-high 15 kills, and Rob Ellis’ service ace on the 25th point of the fourth set secured the victory. Ellis had nine kills towards his name. Sean Kendall also added his name to the board with 13 points.
The match Sat., Nov. 6 was another story. Spartan right side hitter Steven Rogalsky exploded with 13 kills and five service aces to help hand Calgary an embarrassing loss in straight sets, 25-19, 25-14, and 25-11.
The Dinos were led by Engelbrechten with 10 kills and three digs. While the Dinos struggled with blocking and a few service errors, TWU appeared to hit their stride.
A bright spot for the Dinos, however, was the solid play of captain Rob Ellis. The hero of Friday’s fourth set dug deep for seven kills on Saturday, proving his leadership on the court.
This Brooks, AB native plays much larger than his 6ïž´1ï›¸ frame and his huge attacks from the power position are instrumental in the Dinos’ offense.
“I’m undersized,” said Ellis, “but I’ve got heart, fight and I play smarter.”
Those qualities definitely set him apart this weekend, and hopefully will continue to do so during the season.
“I just have to keep my body healthy,” he commented.
If the injury bug doesn’t strike, look for Ellis to rally his troops Jan. 21, when the Spartans visit the Jack Simpson Gymnasium for a rematch.
The Dinos will try to improve their record this weekend at home against our rival University of Alberta Golden Bears. Come out to the Jack Nov. 12-13 for men’s games at 6 p.m. and women’s matches at 8 p.m.