The Dinos men's volleyball team's games Nov. 11-12 did not go as planned. The away series against the top-ranked Trinity Western University Spartans proved to be more challenging than expected. Compounded by the ridiculously low ceiling in the Spartans' gym, the Dinos simply couldn't beat their opponents' serve.
Friday's match was a tough one, with the Dinos dropping three straight sets (25-19, 25-15, 25-12). The Spartans rocketed 11 service aces past Calgary's defense and, despite Eric von Engelbrechten's match-high 13 kills, the deficit was too much to overcome. On a positive note, Rob Ellis returned to form as a power hitter, recording a team-leading five digs.
"We lost because they served us off the court," explained von Engelbrechten. "Our side-out game got us in trouble."
Looking to rebound from the sweep, the Dinos took to the court on Saturday trying to improve upon their 0-3 record. Unfortunately, the Spartan servers had other plans. They pounded the Dinos with another 11 service aces--many of which were received well, but bounced into the gym's low rafters. Ultimately, the Dinos dropped another match in straight sets (25-15, 25-15, 25-17) despite Ellis' six digs. Stephen Gotch, the Dinos' newest hitting powerhouse, tied von Engelbrechten for the most kills with seven.
While the weekend's scores indicate that the Dinos were simply out-muscled by the Spartans, Head Coach Greg Ryan has a different take. Citing the issues presented by the playing facility, he thinks TWU could be in for a surprise when they visit the Jack Simpson Gymnasium in January.
"Everybody in spurts played really well," he said of the matches. "Our setters' positioning was good. Our middle hitters are improving. I'll be happy to get [the Spartans] in our own gym. I'll be happy to see them at the end of the season."
Before the rematch, however, the Dinos face several opponents--most notably the University of Alberta Golden Bears, who will be in Calgary Nov. 18-19. The battle of Alberta gets underway Friday at 8 p.m.