By Jo Wynn
Winning every regular season game has been done before. But the Dinos women’s volleyball team have created history since new rules making it more difficult for a team to win every single game were initiated. Despite the difficulty, our Dinos women have done it by winning the last two matches of the season against the University of Regina Cougars Feb. 4-5 to bump their record up to 20-0.
The scary thing, however, is that they almost lost it Friday night. The first set against the Cougars was a disappointment for Calgary fans, as our ladies went down 17-25. Although we tied it up by winning the second 25-22, the tension in the Jack Simpson only increased. The third set was close with the Dinos edging out the Cougs to take the lead of the game by winning 27-25. The fourth set was a nail-biter which had one Calgary fan in the stands saying: “Are they going to LOSE?” when the Cougars took the set 25-20.
Never fear, however, the Dinos showed that they have the endurance to push through, taking the fifth set 15-8 to win the game 3-2.
“We played lousy,” Head Coach Kevin Boyles explained. “We really struggled to finish and make the touches we need. I think it’s the worst we’ve played all year.”
Though the team wasn’t in top form, Joanna Niemczewska, Julie Young and Robyn Horner still had 19, 10 and eight kills respectively.
The Dinos didn’t continue the “lousy playing” trend Saturday night though, and came out strong to win the first set 25-16.
“We got back to focusing on the first contact and every ball that was played,” commented Boyles on the vast improvement Saturday night.
The improvement only continued in the second set as the Dinos dominated 25-17. The third set saw the Cougars starting to fight back, and despite battling plays on both sides, U of C reigned supreme, taking the third 25-21 to win the game 3-0. Saturday night saw great play by most of the Dinos. Niemczewska had 13 kills and five digs. Reid Brodie added 11 kills for the night.
Completing the perfect season as a coach is a first for Boyles, who played on the undefeated Dinos team that won every game right through nationals in 1988-1989. When asked if there was a threat that the team could now lose the even more important Canada West finals matches, Boyles calmly said he’s not worried.
“My philosophy is to play every next point like it’s the most important point ever, if you have that mentality then you should never lose,” he said.
Though the path to this point has been pretty smooth, the Dinos must still finish in the top two at CW playoffs to make nationals, and the contenders coming up will be a challenge. Most threatening perhaps are the University of Alberta Pandas, whom the Dinos defeated in five sets each time they met this regular season. When the time comes though, these Dinos know what they’re after: A national banner for the second year in a row. They won’t let some Pandas take that without a fight.