Alyssa Etsell, Bison Sports
WINNIPEG – The University of Manitoba Bisons cleared a 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 26-24) battle of a win against the MacEwan Griffins on Sunday afternoon at Investors Group Athletic Centre.
In a game where every point mattered every set, each teams' kills and blocks made the significant impact.
"We couldn't stop (Kevin Negus), he was unbelievable, that was the difference today," said Griffins head coach Brad Poplawski. "Every time they needed an important kill, he got it for them."
Negus said it was the entire team playing really well that got the Bisons the win.
"We keep getting better every single weekend, I think," he said. "Last weekend at Mount Royal we stepped it up and this weekend we took it to another level."
Manitoba had 45 kills, with Negus contributing 26 to the total. For MacEwan's 42, Kai Hesthammer led with 14.
The two teams faced each other on Friday, with Manitoba taking the game in four hard-fought sets (25-19, 19-25, 25-22, 25-22).
At 11-8 in the third set, Manitoba rushed past the Griffins, but MacEwan didn't allow the three-point lead for long. A powerful block by Max Vriend earned the visitors a point making the score 11-9. Another kill by MacEwan tightened the score 11-10. Two back-to-back kills by Negus put distance the Griffins had made up back between the teams at 13-11. Vriend put his visiting team ahead of the Bisons with a back-pocket kill that surged past the home team's blockers (14-13).
The rest of the third set left little unanswered points. Griffins' Caleb Weiss and Mikhail Khan formed a wall and made a massive block to put their team ahead, 21-19. Several serving and receiving errors by both teams drove the score up to 23-23. Enormous blocks on each side led to a 24-24 score. A Negus block put the set at 25-24 for the Bisons and a service error by the Griffins gave Manitoba the set point and ultimately the game (26-24).
For the Griffins, Jordan Peters led in digs with a total of 7. Bison Owen Schwartz had 10 digs.
In an epic second set, both teams clashed over every point. At 18-17 for Manitoba, neither team was gaining a lead of two or more points. A Bisons service error tied the game at 21. Back-to-back massive blocks by the home team's Brendan Warren tied the set at 22 and then pushed the score to 23-22. A receiving error by Manitoba tied the set again, and a back-pocket kill made by the Herd's Dustin Spiring pushed to 24-23. An out-of-bounds spike by the Griffins gave the Bisons the set win, 25-23.
Manitoba controlled the first set, leading 16-12 by the halfway point. Late in the set, MacEwan tried to battle back, but was unsuccessful. A service error by the Griffins gave the Bisons the set, 25-21.
In upcoming action for the Griffins: they'll take on the University of Saskatchewan Huskies at home on Friday Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m. MDT. Manitoba rests, but will play next against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds away on Friday Nov. 9. That match starts at 7:30 p.m. PST. Watch the matches live online at Canadawest.tv.