Volleyball Dinos roll over Trinity Western

There is a certain challenge that comes with beginning a new season. For Dinos men’s and women’s volleyball, the challenge was greater than merely the pressure of performing for points in the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union–it was the challenge of playing away from the safety of their own gymnasium.

"To win in this league, you have to be able to win on the road," commented men’s Head Coach Greg Ryan.

The two Dinos teams visited Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia last weekend and returned to Calgary with a full complement of match wins to begin their regular season. But blocking the way to simple triumph during the weekend were specific obstacles that come with competing against TWU.

Namely, these obstacles were what Ryan called "the lowest roof in the league" and "really, really loud fans."  

Women’s Head Coach Kevin Boyles agreed with Ryan that both of Trinity Western’s teams have evolved from their inaugural, yet weak 1999/2000 season to a team that just might ruffle some feathers in Canada West.

The men began their weekend with five full sets that concluded with a 3-2 win for the Dinos. Ryan suggests that "a bit more pressure" on the players caused the struggle during Friday’s match because it was the first regular season game for the players. This "pressure" caused the men to play erratically and give up two sets, trailing by as much as eight points at times.

"We played really bad in the second and fourth games," said Ryan.

Fortunately for the Dinos they made it through the grind of Friday and were able to adjust their play to trump TWU on Saturday. In an effort to minimize errors, the men from Calgary had to play conservatively in the foreign gymnasium. They survived the weekend with a straight victory of three sets to none.

"[This is] one of the best teams we’ve had in a while," Ryan stated. "The men are intelligent, accountable on the court, and have the ability to adjust."

And two wins over the weekend gave validity to his statements.

Even though the women came up against a few challenges during their weekend, they managed to whup TWU in two solid 3-0 matches.

Boyles admitted to "a bit of a shaky start" at the Dinos first encounter with a team who is "much improved" from last season. The women consistently made more errors than Trinity Western during the two matches that eventually led to a 15-7 deficit during one of the Saturday sets. Yet the women from Calgary used all of their available players to rebound for the win.

"Trinity played a good defence… they were digging a lot of balls," said Boyles to illustrate the women’s need to make adjustments in their hitting on the weekend. The Dinos proved they were up to the task by aggressively out-attacking their B.C. opponents to take the weekend.

Both Boyles and Ryan agree they have teams that have what it takes to excel in the CIAU this year. Obviously, their optimism has been boosted by beginning their season with wins on the road against teams that promise to add some competitive flavour to the league this year. Optimism can’t hurt, but we’ll see if the feeling holds after Dinos volleyball returns from a tangle against the University of British Columbia this weekend.

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