By Jo Wynn
The sweet taste of revenge was extra sweet this past weekend. The Dinos women’s volleyball team beat their nemesis from the north–the University of Alberta Pandas–two nights in a row in Calgary, Nov. 12-13. After losing to the Pandas three weekends in a row during the preseason, our girls are making up for it when it counts. The formerly first-ranked Pandas are now trailing with a 4-2 season record after the losses, the Dinos now rule the Canadian standings with a 6-0 record.
Friday night’s game was played in a packed Red Gym before over 650 Dinos fans. Despite the limited seating, the crazed Dinos fans were in for a show. The Dinos came out strong in the first set and easily stomped the Pandas 25-14. Rookie Lauren Perry was a dominant force throughout the game, opening the first set by racking up some kills.
The second set was a battle from the start, with the Dinos in the lead. Alberta gave them a run for their money and came back to win the set 26-24. In the third, the Dinos fought back to take the lead and won 25-19. The Pandas weren’t willing to give the game up in four, and they took the set 25-20.
The final set had the crowd on the edge of their seats as Calgary took the lead 8-5, but those Pesky Pandas came back to tie it up 10-10. The Dinos took the lead back with solid play at the net by Reid Brodie and a kill by Janelle Findlay. Coming out on top with a set of 15-12, the Dinos won the game 3-2.
Leading for the Dinos Friday night was player of the game Lauren Perry with 13 kills, two service aces and seven kills, followed by the always amazing Jo Niemczewska with 12 kills and 12 digs. Who else was a force to be reckoned with Friday night?
“Neda (Boroumand) was phenomenal Friday night,” Head Coach Kevin Boyles praises of the libero who racked up 35 digs. “She took their hitters out of the game with her defence.”
“I was kind of nervous as it’s a bigger game when you play U of A,” first year Lauren Perry commented when asked about her first player of the game award during her university career, “but I tried not to think about it and just have fun.”
Back in the Jack on Saturday night the Dinos played under the National Championship banner they earned by beating the Pandas just over eight months ago. Alberta dominated the first set 25-15 after taking the lead from the Dinos with an 8-0 run.
“We struggled with our consistency,” commented Boyles. “We gave up a run of eight. We lost our composure.”
They got it back in the second set as the Dinos won 25-21 thanks to fantastic setting by Natalie “Phatty” Schwartz and ace serving by Holly Harper. Alberta took the very close third set 25-22, but the Dinos came back in the fourth to tie it up by winning 25-23. Calgary came out swinging in the fifth and took the set 15-9 to win the game.
Despite the wins over the weekend, the players and Boyles feel that the level of play was not the caliber they’re capable of.
“Anytime you beat U of A twice in one weekend it’s a success, but a team like ours is dissatisfied when we don’t play at the level we know we’re capable of. Natalie was excellent the whole weekend, she kept her composure and she competed,” said Boyles. “[Perry] brings an aggressive offensive presence, she’s a great athlete who can jump and hit and cause problems for whoever we’re playing. We have some issues with our passing on the left side, but if she can keep up her back court game she’ll keep playing!”
The Dinos next head to Trinity Western University where they’ll fight the Spartans to keep hold of their number one ranking and undefeated season.