The Dinos women's volleyball team is human after all. Apparently, even the almost perfect do have their slip-ups. The trouble with having so many wins over the last few years is that they stand out like mustard on a white-trash wife beater, whereas a loss is like the guy in the trailer park without a beer in his hand.
The four matches our ladies won at the University of Saskatchewan hosted Sask Cup pre-season tournament Oct. 7-8 blend in with their typical result like a maggot into a bowl of rice. But the ugly loss they suffered in their final game is a severed finger in your soup; you know it's there and you can't look away.
Things started off all fairy-tale-like for our lady Dinos on Friday. Their first opponent, the University of Manitoba Bisons, made slightly more than a feeble effort to steal a set away from our ladies. They fell 25-17 in the first then put the Dinos over some speed bumps in the next two sets--25-22 and 25-23 Dinos wins.
The Dinos' second match of that afternoon against the University of Regina Cougars was more of a hump than a bump, which the Dinos climbed in three straight 25-21 sets. The Dinos' first two games on Saturday didn't stray too far from this winning pattern either. The Trinity Western University Spartans and University of Winnipeg Wesmen both landed face first on the Dinos' easy three-set win trap.
"We were playing an offensive game," commented Head Coach Kevin Boyles. "We were aggressive at the net."
In their final match, our ladies had their feet planted on the king's court, ready for another 3-0 toppling of the Cougars. Unfortunately, they couldn't jump through the Cougar's hoops or over their hurdles with their feet stuck to the floor.
"We were making mistakes we don't usually make," concluded Dino Holly Harper.
The first set went the way of the Cougar (and we're not talking Ranchman's) 25-21. This espresso shot to the brain kicked our ladies back into gear with a 17-25 second set win. Unfortunately, the low followed the high too closely and the Cougars regained their lead with a 25-20 third set. The essential fourth set came right down to the wire, but the young Dino had already succumbed to the Cougars' allure. The U of R reeled in the final points needed to hook, line and sinker the set 27-25.
"They were relentless and didn't make as many mistakes as we did," admitted Dino Janelle Findlay. "The difference was they put the ball away and we couldn't for the long rallies."
Boyles confirmed that the loss can be attributed to multiple unforced errors on their side of the net.
"We're not as stable at this point in the season as we need to be," Boyles lamented. "We've got to realise we can't bring a lazy game and expect to win."
But not to worry, the Dinos lure an unwitting bunch of teams to the Husky Dino Cup Oct. 14-16. Our ladies take on the University of Montreal Carabins and the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds--who Boyles credits as being one of the country's top teams--on Friday at noon and 6 p.m. respectively. The battle of Alberta follows on Saturday at 6 p.m. as the Dinos meet the University of Alberta Pandas. Bronze and gold medal matches take place Sunday at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. respectively. All matches are in the Jack Simpson Gymnasium.
The ladies will use a shiny, new high-tech net during training this week--one so complex only certified individuals can figure out how to set up and use it. New net, or metaphorical tub of ice cream? You be the judge. In any case, hopefully it will result in some spectacular play as the ladies expect.
"We're going to come out, fire it up and play some really good volleyball," promised Harper.
Findlay took the high road, reassuring me not of good volleyball, but that the Dinos will "mess some teams up."