By Alex Baron
The University of Calgary men’s volleyball team had an awful weekend as the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds ran right over the Dinos in two straight losses at the Jack Simpson Gym.
Playing in front of a home crowd, the Dinos couldn’t put together a consistent effort Fri., Nov. 3 and Sat., Nov. 4. They started their weekend strong with a 25-22 set win getting big blocks from Scott Price and Aaron Winstone. That turned out to be the Dinos’ only win of the weekend as they lost the next three sets to fall 3-1 on Friday.
“We started off pretty strong and competed,” said head coach Rod Durrant. “They picked up their game and we weren’t able to match it.”
UBC continued their dominance 24 hours later as they swept the Dinos in three straight games, spoiling what could have been a great season-opening weekend with a large fan base on hand.
With 25-22, 25-17 and 25-15 wins, the T-Birds continually strengthened as the Dinos weakened. The Dinos jumped to early 5-0 and 8-2 leads in the first set, only to finish down one set to none after a 25-22 T-Bird win.
The crowd was into it early, especially after a long rally which saw Dino Ryan Poon dig three straight off opposition hits, however the energy was quickly subdued by the T-Birds’ dominance.
“If we don’t play this team confidently, we’ll struggle and that is what happened tonight,” said assistant coach Calvin Aubin. “They played confident and they dug everything and wanted to block everything.”
Highlights of the weekend included a valiant but unsuccessful effort on Friday by Brendan Ray to get a free ball. Ray ran through crash pads and into steel bleachers to chase it down. Setter Glen Handley performed the same stunt twice Saturday, as he flew into the stands to save a ball. He also charged into the officials’ table to successfully recover a ball.
“I’ve been playing with [Handley] for 10 years and that’s what he does,” said Dinos middle Blake Adair. “You can expect more of that as the season goes along.”