By Carly McKay
Returning from an unfortunate encounter with the University of Alberta Golden Bears over the weekend, the Dinos men’s volleyball team saw their season from hell come one step closer to its conclusion. With the playoffs firmly out of reach, the team is playing for experience and pride through the last few matches.
Facing the number-one-ranked Bears was perhaps a good measuring stick for the team in preparation for next year. That being said, the crew from Edmonton took that measuring stick and beat the Dinos all over the court with it.
“It was a very challenging weekend,” power-hitter Ryan Lenz commented diplomatically. “They are hard to play when they’re at home. They have a great crowd.”
Nine hundred screaming fans packed the U of A main gym Friday night as the home team swept the Dinos 25-17, 25-16, 25-18.
The Dinos struggled to string together their attack, although Stephen Gotch led the stats with 11 kills. Rob Ellis contributed four digs in the match, but the defensive unit was just no match for the firepower of the veteran Bears squad.
“It was a little frustrating,” admitted Head Coach Greg Ryan. “But U of A is a tremendous team.”
Saturday’s result was no better. The Dinos again dropped three straight (25-16, 25-14, 25-19). Blake Adair proved to be the bright spot, posting eight kills and the team’s only service ace, while several players chipped in with three digs apiece.
“U of A is the best team in North America,” concluded Lenz. “It shows us the level we need to be at.”
“It’s unbelievably annoying,” said Ryan about the trajectory of the season. “These guys have worked hard, and in a year or two we’ll be really good. We’ve just had the goofiest couple years of injuries. I don’t like excuses, but I don’t like losing.”
Hoping they have picked up on something from their experience, the Dinos take to the court Jan. 20-21 to host the Trinity Western University Spartans in yet another Canada West David-meets-Goliath match-up.