Ready or not, here playoffs come

By Sean Nyilassy

The Dinos women’s volleyball team fought a battle as epic as Peter Griffin and the giant chicken Feb. 11-12. They traveled east to Manitoba where they exchanged blows with the University of Winnipeg Wesmen. While the results weren’t exactly ideal–a pair of wins would have given our ladies home-court advantage in Canada West quarter-finals–everyone’s limbs are intact and the Dinos still stand on both feet.

The pair of games was a fight from the start. The Dinos managed to break out of a 23-23 headlock to win the first set 23-25. As the Dinos began to settle into a groove, they took the second set 21-25. This didn’t deter the Wesmen, however, who pulled up their socks and kicked it up a notch for a 25-23 third-set victory.

This opened the floodgates and the Dinos found themselves down 20-10 in the fourth set. Despite a late 6-0 Dinos run, the Wesmen managed to hold on to their lead for a 26-24 set. The Wesmen continued to kick the Dinos while they were down, taking the final set 15-11 and handing the Dinos a disappointing 3-2 loss.

“We were not playing at our standard,” said Carolyn MacDonald. “We had a couple of unlucky breaks and couldn’t bounce back.”

Lauren Perry led the Dinos’ attack with 24 kills and 13 digs. MacDonald added 17 kills and three sweet-ass service aces. Julie Young put up 11 points and 12 digs in the effort while Neda Boroumand added 16 digs.

Sunday’s game began with even stronger Dino domination than the previous eve. As Perry so eloquently put it; “We killed them the first two sets.”

However, the game, like Saturday’s, took a turn for the worse. After 25-16 and 25-20 wins the first two sets, the third set went to the Wesmen 22-25. The Dinos had their chance to put the game away in the fourth with a 24-23 match point, but let the Wesmen get the better of them 24-26.

But as the game resembled Saturday’s more and more, did the Dinos cross their arms, sit down on the court and pout? Did they throw a temper tantrum and accost the referee? Did they go silently into the night? Did they feebly faint when faced with formidable foes? The correct answer is no.

They quickly accumulated a 6-1 lead and wouldn’t let the Wesmen within striking distance, taking the deciding set 15-12. Perry busted out 16 kills and 19 digs in the match.

And thus the Dinos end their regular season with a 14-6 record. They begin playoffs with a best-of-three series in Edmonton against the University of Alberta Pandas Feb. 17-19. The winner of that CW quarter-final round goes on to the CW Final Four Feb. 24-26, hosted by the highest-seeded quarter-final winner.

“It would be good to win and kick Edmonton out [of playoffs] in their own gym,” Perry explained.

And how. The U of A often finds a way to beat our ladies, so beating them now would eliminate the chance of the teams meeting at nationals when more is on the line. Regardless of our ladies’ results in CW playoffs, they have a secure berth to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Women’s Volleyball Championship Mar. 2-4 as hosts. Despite the assured spot at nationals, Dinos head coach Kevin Boyles still feels playing well in the approaching weeks will boost the Dinos’ chances of winning the national banner.

“These games are very important because they’re preparation for nationals. We need to take care of our seed by having some success in [CW] playoffs,” Boyles said in reference to higher-seeded teams having easier roads to the final rounds of nationals. “We also need to be carrying confidence and poise.”

Hopefully, some confidence, poise and a whole lotta talent will win our ladies another CIS championship. They won in 2004 against the Pandas and placed third last year, beating the Pandas, after being eliminated by the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.

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