By Chris Johns
The University of Calgary Dinos began the 1999/2000 men’s volleyball season with a two victories over the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.
The Dinos proved worthy of their high pre-season ranking with two convincing wins, winning four sets to one on both Friday and Saturday nights. All matches in Canadian university volleyball will be played under the 25-point scoring system which was recently adopted in the Canada West Conference. Under the system teams play all five sets in each match–a format which suits the Dinos’ team very well. The Dinos served better than the T-Birds which led to direct points. The Dinos also put a good block up against UBC so side-outs became points in the new system. The system also rewards the more consistent team, and the Dinos got the two or three point lead in each set and then didn’t make mistakes to let UBC back in any game.
The new system has its proponents, including T-Birds coach Dale Ohman. He likes the system despite the losses.
"[Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union coaches] felt that we could provide a package of two hours and also design a point system for the league so that all five games are crucial," said Ohman "You can win a match but you also have to think about how many points you can get. Greg decided to play his bench in that final game and we were able to steal a point in that game."
The T-birds are a skilled team, but they make mistakes at key times; they hit roll shots when power is needed and they missed serves late in matches.
For Dinos coach Greg Ryan, the new scoring system means developing his players.
"At the coaches meetings, the compromise that came out of it, and a compromise is always a bad thing, was that we don’t want to þy to Vancouver and play for 40 minutes," said Ryan. "You get about half as many reps in rally point as the old system. So the five set match is the best compromise. If you are winning the match 3-0 in the fourth game, you can only get three points. The good side is that we are going to get other guys on the floor. We also have lots of flexibility with our line-up. We can put guys in to change the other teams’ blockers. And on Friday, we made 10 service errors in Game four and still won the set 25-19. That was just a sign of inattention."
The Dinos have one of the strongest line-ups in the country and when they play up to their capabilities, few can beat them.
Calgary will go to Saskatoon to take on the defending CIAU champion University of Saskatchewan Huskies next weekend. Which Dino team will show up?