By Carly McKay
“We’re just trying to get W’s,” said Glen Handley at the outset of the season.
Unfortunately, those wins have proven more elusive than the men’s volleyball team had anticipated. This past weekend was to mark the Dinos’ return to form following two disappointing matches against the University of Alberta Pandas Nov. 12-13, but the team’s trip to the University of British Columbia was nothing short of disastrous.
On Friday, the Dinos faced the sixth-ranked UBC Thunderbirds in what was expected to be a solid victory. The opening set was close, but tight play at the net on the Thunderbirds’ part gave them the edge 26-24. That was the closest the Dinos would come to victory, dropping the next two 25-14 and 25-17.
James Brown (yeooow!) scored the Dinos only service ace for the match and a good effort from Tyler Fraser saw him usurp perennial offensive leader Eric von Engelbrechten with a respectable 14 kills on the night.
Still stinging from the loss, the men came out flat on Saturday. Despite von Engelbrechten pacing the attack with a match-high 11 kills, the Dinos scoring touch was nowhere to be found as they dropped three straight, 25-19, 25-8, and 25-17.
Fraser had the team’s only service ace, and Sean Kendal lead the defense with two blocks. This, combined with UBC’s impressive 42 kills and 18 digs, left the Dinos without those much needed wins from the weekend’s doubleheader.
As UBC improved their record to 5-1, the fourth-ranked Dinos saw theirs plummet to 1-5, with a tilt versus the reigning national champion University of Saskatchewan Huskies looming on next weekend’s horizon.
Although the Dinos have traditionally played better on the road than at the Jack Simpson Gymnasium, this has turned out to be a difficult road swing for the team.
“The support at home gives us an advantage [over the other team],” setter Paul Albert noted.
The men are hoping that the home crowd can give them a boost Dec. 4-5, when they return to the U of C for a pair of matches against the University of Winnipeg Wesmen.