It was a weekend of ups and downs in men's volleyball. The Dinos played their final regular season back-to-back matches at home against the Trinity Western University Spartans. They dominated their game in straight sets with scores of 28-26, 25-14, 25-20. Sat. afternoon. However, Sun. saw an intense match eventually wobble in favour of the Spartans. While the Dinos owned the first two sets Trinity Western stole the last three with final scores of 25-19, 25-17, 24-26, 26-28, 10-15 in the latter match.
Despite the win on Sat. afternoon, head coach Rod Durrant appeared noticeably upset following play on Sun. With only two more weekends of head-to-head matches left before the playoffs--all away--the Dinos are understandably facing a good deal of pressure to stay competitive in the race for post-season contention. Though the weekend was split, coach Durrant noted that Sunday's turnaround loss meant extra-hard work for the Dinos.
"We just let a team that was really out of it back into it and now we're going to have to fight and scrap to get back into the playoffs," he said Sun.
Though hopeful his team still has a shot at the post-season, Durrant remained reserved about their chances.
Some positives that came from the weekend included an improvement on serving, especially in Saturday's match. Both Oleg Podporin and David Egan had impressive service streaks, with Podporin slamming down two straight aces on the Spartans during the second set. Dino Omar Langford also proved a daunting force to the Spartans, powering out 39 kills over the course of the weekend. Though, by the third set on Sat., the Spartans made an effort to step up their blocking and rally themselves together. The Dinos handily closed out the final set with well-rounded play that included effective passing and consistent attacking. However, Sunday's match was a different story, as the Spartans' third-set efforts threw the Dinos off balance.
Fifth-year outside hitter Scott Price, who was honoured with a plaque commemorating his career as a Dino prior to Sun., noted that, starting in the third set, the Dinos found themselves making increasing numbers of unforced errors and ultimately gave their opponents the upper hand.
"They started playing better," he said. "We didn't do as good a job serving the ball and our passing broke down a little bit. [Either] we wouldn't pass the ball well or we would serve out. When we did pass the ball well, we made a lot of attacking errors. We gave them a lot of points that they didn't really have to work for."
With time running out in the regular season, there is little room to sit back and contemplate discouraging losses, which is a fact not lost on coach Durrant.
"They're a good team and we knew that," Durrant said of the Spartans. "We were very happy to get the 2-0 lead then disappointed--very disappointed in the fact--that we weren't able to finish out on the [third] set. I think that the next two weekends are very big for us so we will regroup and get back at it on Mon."
The next two weekends are big indeed, as the Dinos face both the Thompson Rivers University Wolf Pack and the University of Winnipeg Wesman, both of which are ahead of Calgary in the CIS standings.
"It doesn't get any easier," admitted coach Durrant. "It really doesn't. We need to grow from this and get better."