With their perennial rivals, the University of Alberta Golden Bears, rolling into town last weekend, the Dinos men's volleyball team knew they had to bring their 'A' game to the court. Facing the defending Canadian Interuniversity Sport champs early on in the season is a huge measuring stick for the struggling Dinos as they tried to take their first win in conference play.
Unfortunately, things did not go quite as planned.
The home side surprised the Golden Bears, stealing Friday's opening set 23-25. They were ahead at the technical break 10-16 and didn't look back, staying on top of a closely contested set for the win. A reality check was all the visitors needed, however, and the offensive machine from northern Alberta cranked out 11 service aces and solid blocking to take the next two sets, 25-19 and 25-11. The fourth set saw the Dinos fall to an early 8-3 deficit. They rallied to take a 16-18 lead before the U of A regrouped and rolled to a 25-19 victory.
Saturday's match proved that the unranked Dinos were not quite prepared. They were swept 3-0 (25-14, 25-19, 25-20). The second set was closer than the first as the home squad reeled the margin back to 19-15. But the Golden Bears took control and cruised on to a convincing win. The third remained tight, as the Dinos trailed 8-7 at the technical break, but consistent serving from the visitors allowed them to take the victory in straight sets.
Despite Eric von Engelbrechten again leading the team with 12 kills, the Dinos recorded only a 16 per cent kill efficiency while the U of A operated at 45.
With their 0-6 record on the line, the Dinos are taking their act on the road Nov. 26-27 to face the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack, the bottom dwellers of the Mountain division. In a match-up that will see one of the teams take their first victory of the season, the Dinos are looking to get themselves back on track in their quest for a playoff berth.