Bronze ain’t so bad

Through adversity and illness, the Dinos women’s volleyball team came away with a bronze medal over the Trinity Western University Spartans in the Husky Dino Cup. Typically it’s player health that is the concern going into big games, but the Dinos faced a different problem going into day two of the Oct. 19-21 event.

“I think it was 10:30 a.m. when [head coach Kevin Boyles] phoned me and said ‘I hope you’re coming in early, because I’m not going to be there,'” said assistant coach Chad Leier. “He was sick and couldn’t get out of bed. At two o’clock I got a message saying he was at the hospital. At eight o’clock his wife phoned and said he finally got a bed. At midnight, they operated [and] took out his appendix.”

This is only the second Dino Cup with women competing for a prize and this year featured a strong array of Canada West opposition from the University of Alberta Pandas, the University of Manitoba Bisons and the Spartans.

The Boyles-less team came away Friday with a 1-1 record, losing three sets to one against the Bisons and winning 3-2 over the Spartans. They opened the tournament Thursday with a 3-2 victory over the Pandas.

Unfortunately, even though the Dinos, Pandas and Bisons all finished with similar 2-1 records, the Dinos were denied a spot in the gold medal match due to their sets’ win/lose difference.

“We’re happy with last night’s performance,” said sensational fifth-year Joanna Niemczewska. “[We wanted to] come in on our home court and beat them more than we did yesterday.”

And beat them they did in a thrilling three sets to one victory on Sat., Oct. 21. The Dinos started with a one set to none lead, with a 25-20 victory.

The second set was close, tied at 16-16 midway through, right up until the end where an unforced hitting error gave the Dinos their 25th set-sealing point, the score finishing 25-22.

“Trinity entered CIS five years ago,” noted Leier. “They’ve been here probably six times in that five years and until yesterday they had never won a set. We’ve beaten them 3-0 everytime they came in here. They’re getting stronger. They’re getting more experienced.”

The Spartans weren’t about to be beaten 3-0 with the bronze on the line, and they came back with a 25-20 victory after making some substitutions to get fresh legs on the floor. The set win was only the Spartans’ third in the Jack Simpson Gym in their five-year CIS career.

The Dinos had their eyes on the prize, and knew that they couldn’t allow the Spartans back into a match they had a strangle-hold on. The Dinos built up an 18-12 spread, aided by three straight Spartan missed serves and cruised to a 25-19 victory.

“[This bronze medal is] another step forward to our goal, which is at Christmas to be 10-0 and ultimately to be national champions on this floor in March,” said Leier.

As for Boyles, expect him to be back after he recovers, and ready to take on the Canada West.

“Two days in the hospital and he’ll be back,” said Leier. “Of course there’s always a recovery period. The girls are strong enough to handle the fact that just because he’s not here, we’re not going to fall apart.”

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