WINNIPEG – This one pretty much reinvents the term pulling defeat from the jaws of victory.
Up 12-8 and seemingly just an inevitable few minutes away from their first victory of the Canada West season, the MacEwan Griffins women's volleyball team conceded seven-straight points to lose 15-12 and drop a 3-2 decision to the Manitoba Bisons on Saturday night (25-16, 18-25, 25-21, 23-25, 15-12).
A rally of that magnitude is extremely rare in volleyball, but the Bisons came out of a timeout with a kill and capitalized on three late Griffins errors to steal the win and a weekend sweep.
"The record does not indicate how good that team is," Bisons head coach Ken Bentley told Manitoba Athletics. "That was a good fight, I mean, they (Griffins) played unbelievably good."
The moral victory won't be enough for Griffins head coach Ken Briggs, whose team beat the Bisons in preseason but realistically needed to do it again after dropping their first six games of the season. Now they're in an 0-8 hole, with matches looming against defending national champion UBC and perennial powerhouse Trinity Western before they hit the Christmas break.
It's early, but the consequence of losing twice to Manitoba is that their playoff chances likely now hinge on pulling off some upsets.
Briggs only sent a text after Saturday's painful loss: "We battled really well and had lots of offensive contributions from (Lauren) Holmes, (Cassidy) Kinsella and (Kate) Rozendaal, and defensively from Karly Edgar. Kylie Schubert came in and made a huge difference setting."
Edgar actually broke her own MacEwan record for most digs in a Canada West match with 35 on Saturday.
Holmes was the Griffins' most effective hitter with 15 kills on a .364 percentage. Kinsella had 16 kills, but just a .101 efficiency, while Rozendaal chipped in 11 kills on just .059 percent.