Justin McCaffrey, Mount Royal Sports Information
CALGARY – The Manitoba Bisons picked up right where they left off last season, defeating Mount Royal 3-2 (25-16, 25-23, 18-25, 23-25, 12-15) Friday night on Kenyon Court.
Mount Royal kept Manitoba at bay all the way to 13-13. From there, Manitoba blew the set wide open, winning five of the next eight points. Tyler Schmidt tried to make it close for Mount Royal but the Bisons were just too strong. Manitoba held on to win the first set 25-16.
Both sides kept it tight in the second, right up until 23-23. Tyler Schmidt then came to the line after some stellar serving and blew one into the net. Schmidt then had a chance to tie it on the next rally but made a costly hitting error, giving Manitoba the 25-23 victory.
With their backs again the wall, Mount Royal fought on and played their best set of the match. The Cougars had a 14-8 to start the set. Manitoba trailed by a sizable margin until a late rally got them down to just 20-18. That is as close as they would come in the set. Sam Brisbane got to the service line and put away five straight points to win the third set 25-18.
The Cougars rode the momentum into the fourth set, leading 16-12 at the media timeout. The Cougars led all the way into the twenties but nearly lost it. Manitoba almost tied the game but Devren Dear served into the net. Riley Friesen had a chance to put it away for the Cougars but he too made a service error. Down 24-23, Evan Jackson made the third service error in a row to clinch the set for Mount Royal 25-23.
Mount Royal trailed most of the fifth set but managed to claw their way back to 12-12. Adam DeJonckheere then unleashed a massive kill to put the Bisons up 13-12. Later in the set, after a Cougars' error, DeJonckheere went to the service line. The two sides had a solid rally before the Cougars made another attacking error, costing them the match.
Manitoba's win moves them to 1-0 on the season. The loss drops Mount Royal to 0-1.
The conclusion of the weekend series is set for tomorrow afternoon at 6pm MST on Kenyon Court.