Regina Cougars not welcome in Jack

By Sean Nyilassy

The Dinos women’s volleyball team have been left with a few torn off bits of tissue and some razor burn after some close bouts with the University of Regina Cougars Dec. 2-3. The visitors visited and the hosts hosted. Luckily, the polite Cougars gave the hosting Dinos the last laugh.

The Jack Simpson Gymnasium swayed like the trees in the bitter cold winter wind, with both teams having their fair share of leads. The opening set began with the Cougars up by two before a six-point Dinos run swung the game our way. The Cougars replied with a 6-2 run to gain a 14-16 lead at the break. The felines held on to their lead, letting the Dinos within one before landing three straight points and a 21-25 win.

The second set was more the Dinos’ style. They jumped ahead 21-13 and appeared to have the deal sealed. But the Cougars saw their chances dwindling and jumped on anything they could. They cut their deficit to 24-23 before a timely Lauren Perry kill secured the set for the Dinos.

Despite an early three-point deficit in the third, the Dinos made their way back to a 16-15 lead at the technical break. But nothing is sacred to a Cougar; they managed to restore their lead very late in the game at 22-24. Luckily, the Dinos didn’t crumble under the pressure. Instead, they locked in four straight points to take the set.

The Dinos closed out the fourth set 25-20 to win the match.

Perry was the top assassin for the Dinos with 17 kills, seven more than any other player from either team. Julie Young and Neda Boroumand kept the ball in the air with 18 and 14 digs respectively.

If Friday’s game had you chewing on your cuticle, then Saturday’s game was no more beautiful. A 16-9 first-set Dinos’ lead put the Cougars under the axe. But they managed to tie the game at 21, giving the Dinos no reason to relax. They summoned four straight points from within. And with that secured a 25-21 win.

The Dinos dictated the second set. A 25-12 loss made the Cougars start to fret. But the third set turned out to be quite a different story. The Cougars won it 16-25, stealing all the glory. The Cougars’ struggle to force a fifth set was quite obscene. They managed to tie the match at 19. At this point they produced a 6-2 run, forcing a deciding set, which is never any fun.

The game started out very tight, but the Dinos proved to have the most fight. They won 15-10 in the end, sending Regina back home to mend.

“The biggest problem is still our offensive errors,” Head Coach Kevin Boyles admitted. “We’re hitting too many balls out of bounds and into the net.”

Perry was a force to be reckoned with. She had 15 kills, 16 digs and four service aces to her name. Janelle Findlay added 10 kills and 18 digs while Boroumand chimed in 19 digs of her own.

The ladies look forward to a little break over Christmas. Findlay, after suggesting she could consume her body weight in turkey, wisely changed her estimate to a modest four pounds. Perry is fairly sure she will one up this feat.

On an unfortunate note, Dinos star Holly Harper suffered a knee injury in the first set and will be out for a year. Boyles hopes to have her back by Nov. 2006.

“We struggled after Holly’s knee injury,” Boyles observed. “It’s a good indication as to where we’re at. It’s an inexperienced group.”

“It was hard to watch that happen,” Perry remembered. “But it’s nice that we still won without her.”

The wins move the Dinos to 8-2 for the regular season and were their last conference games of 2005. Boyles hopes to see rapid improvements early in the New Year.

“I’d like to see us take steps forwards early in the second half [of the season] and learn to put teams away,” he said.

One area the Dinos will need improvement, according to Boyles, is in closing sets. The ladies get to show us how it’s done Jan. 7-8 against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. The games are both at noon in the Jack.