The men’s volleyball season has been — to put it mildly — rocky, so far this season. After qualifying for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships last season, the Dinos now appear destined to miss the Canada West playoffs entirely.
The Dinos ended the 2011–12 CIS playoffs with a win over the University of Alberta Golden Bears to claim fifth spot nationally. However, the Dinos graduated a number of outstanding players last season, including one of the best men’s volleyball players in school history and former CW player of the year Graham Vigrass.
It is important to consider that expectations for this season are tempered due to the fact that this would be considered a rebuilding year for the Dinos.
Head coach Rod Durrant has no fifth-year players on the roster and has six freshman players this season. The only player that has started all 12 conference matches is outside hitter Connor Frehlich who is a sophomore. Frehlich is also leading the Dinos with 212 kills, with an average of 2.63 kills per set.
Another sophomore — Cory Meeuwisse — leads the Dinos defensively with 115 digs and an average of 2.74 digs per set.
With performances from younger players on the roster, the future looks a lot brighter than the present for the Dinos men’s volleyball program. For the second half of the season, the Dinos’s focus will likely shift to growing as a team and developing their squad for next season.
The Dinos have lost six-straight games and are tied for 11th with the University of Regina Cougars in the CW standings with a record of two wins and 10 losses.
Statistically, the Dinos seem to be missing the attacking prowess of Vigrass. The Dinos have an attacking percentage of .175 — compared to their opponents’ percentage of .250. The Dinos also have 79 fewer kills than their opposition.
To start the season, the Dinos split a home-and-home series against the Mount Royal University Cougars on Oct. 26 and 27. Unfortunately, Dinos wins have been few and far between. The last Dinos victory came on Nov. 11 against the University of Winnipeg Wesmen. The Dinos have only won two sets in their past four matches.
The season will not get any easier when the Dinos return from the holiday break as they face the Golden Bears on Jan. 11 and 12. The Golden Bears are currently unbeaten and sit first in the CW with 12 wins. The only previous meeting between the Dinos and Golden Bears was in the Dino Cup in September. The Golden Bears swept the Dinos 0–3 in that game on Oct. 20.
With only 10 games remaining, if the Dinos won every game in the second half of the season, they would still be hard-pressed to earn a high seed entering into the CW playoffs.