DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
With their season on the line, the Winnipeg Wesmen put forth their finest rally of the season.
The Wesmen men's volleyball team battled back from two sets down to capture a 3-2 (15-25, 23-25, 25-23, 25-19, 15-11) victory over the Brandon Bobcats Saturday night in Brandon, a win that kept their season alive and forced a deciding third match in the best-of-three Canada West quarter-final in the process.
Adrian Dyck had a match-high 19 kills and added 11 digs to lead the Wesmen, who hit .216 for the match, but were .274 in Sets 3 through 5, when they swung the momentum their way and guaranteed their season would go at least one more day.
Garrett Jones posted a career-high 10 blocks, five of them solo, in helping the Wesmen D-up and turn the tables in their favour. Jones also had nine kills on 13 swings and hit .438 on the night.
The Wesmen, who were 5-3 in five-set matches in the conference season, had only one other instance this season where they won a five-setter after dropping the first two sets, and it came Nov. 28 against the Bobcats.
The Bobcats lost for the first time in 10 home matches this season in which they won the first set.
Seth Friesen's 17 kills led the Bobcats, who will host Match 3 at 4 p.m. Sunday. Elliott Viles added 15 kills, but the Bobcats got little else from the rest of their lineup, with the rest of the team hitting just .133 for the match.
The Wesmen, already down two sets, trailed 16-14 at the technical timeout of the third set, but the Wesmen won five of the next seven points, taking a 19-18 lead on a Thiessen kill.
The Wesmen set the tone in the fourth with a four-point run at 5-5 that gave them an advantage they would not relinquish.
In the fifth, the Wesmen won three straight points to wipe out BU's 4-1 lead, played side-out volleyball up until taking an 8-7 lead at the turn, then won five straight points after Brandon tied the score at 8-8 to take complete control.
Brandon had only four kills on 17 swings in the deciding fifth set.
The deciding match, which will determine what team goes on to the Canada West final four, can be seen on canadawest.tv