MacEwan Athletics and Bisons Athletics
WINNIPEG – Nerves derailed any momentum the MacEwan Griffins women's volleyball team had after opening the Canada West season 2-0 as they fell in straight sets to the previously 0-2 Manitoba Bisons on Saturday.
"We played poorly," said head coach Ken Briggs. "We played like we haven't been on the road before. We had too many passengers. Our two middles played great. We were in it.
"We just had too many missed passes and tons of errors that are under our control," he added. "Just too many nervous people and I don't know why. We just played scared and you can't play this game scared."
In the first set, the Griffins took an early lead. Halfway through the set, they were maintaining it 16-11, but a series of errors allowed the Bisons back into it and another error sealed the set in favour of Manitoba, 25-22.
The Bisons came to play in the second set, driving the score up 5-0 and leading the whole way. The Griffins fought back valiantly after trailing 22-13, but it was too little, too late as Manitoba took it on a MacEwan service error, 25-21.
MacEwan stayed with the Bisons early in the third set but wound up falling on their own sword again with a series of late errors in a 25-20 result that ended the night early.
As predicted by Briggs before the match, the Bisons came to play strong defence, racking up 54 digs in three sets.
"We just didn't put the ball on the floor," Briggs said. "We had so many chances and lots of long rallies. Both teams played well. At times they were just more consistent.
"We shot ourselves in the foot. It overshadowed a really great performance both blocking and swinging with by our two middles – McKenna and Gilf."
"Statistically, we were fine," Briggs said. "This was one of those 3-0 wins where I can't wait to play tomorrow because it was all self-inflicted."
They won't have to wait long. The rematch is set for Sunday (1 p.m. MT, Canada West TV).