The Dinos men's volleyball team got back to their winning ways over the weekend, scoring a pair of victories over the University of Regina Cougars. After a mediocre showing last week against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, a match-up with the Cougars was just what the Dinos needed to get back on track. They were dominant over the weekend, taking six of seven sets from a pitiful Regina squad who remain winless on the season.
In the first game, the Dinos took the first set before seeing the Cougars take the second in dramatic fashion. The two teams went back and forth, with Regina eventually winning the set 30-28. Friday's second set was really the only sign of life Regina showed all weekend. The third set was a completely different story. The Dinos, winning convincingly by a score of 25-10, immediately halted any momentum their opponent might have gained. From there it was merely a formality, and they closed it out in four sets winning by a final score of 3-1 (25-20, 28-30, 25-10, 25-18).
Saturday's game was no contest, as the Dinos had one of their most lopsided wins of the season, winning in straight sets 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-18). Regina's offence looked about as bad as the new look Calgary Flames did in Monday's game against the Flyers.
Fourth-year middle David Egan had a big performance over the weekend, recording a team high 22 kills while committing only three errors. His overall hitting percentage was an impressive .463, and he led the team with 13 blocks. Egan has seen an increase in playing time this season, and has taken full advantage of it. His strong play and leadership qualities certainly have not gone unnoticed by Dinos head coach Rod Durrant, who named Egan as one of the captains this year.
"He's been more consistent," says Durrant. "We need him to continue to be an influence, not just at the net, but also in serving as well as the backcourt."
Though the Dinos played well, the Cougars aren't exactly the best measuring stick when evaluating the team's overall play. To say they have struggled this season would be an understatement, and with the pair of losses they stretched their regular season losing streak to 14 games.
"I think our guys did a very good job this weekend, we did drop one set but we rebounded and won the next five," says Durrant. "To go two wins against Regina was our goal, and now [our focus] is on Brandon."
The University of Brandon Bobcats will certainly provide a tougher challenge for the Dinos, as they are coming off a weekend split with the number two ranked University of Alberta Golden Bears. Alberta remains atop of the Canada West standings, though Calgary has two games in hand and fewer losses. The 11-3 Dinos are in control of their own destiny. If they win their remaining four games, they will clinch the number one seed and will host the conference's Final Four playoff tournament at the Jack Simpson Gymnasium.
"I think it's a great opportunity for this program, and this group of guys who have worked really hard from where we were a year ago to have things in our control. We're not relying on [the] U of A. If we go out and play well in our next four games we can control our outcome," says Durrant.
As much as the Dinos would love to clinch the number one seed, their only focus is on Friday night's game.
"The guys have been very committed to looking at one match at a time, and preparing for that match. If we do that I think we will be fine. If we get ahead of ourselves we tend to not play as well as we need to be successful."