DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
The Winnipeg Wesmen pulled off the upset of the season in the Canada West Saturday night.
The Wesmen men's volleyball team hit .400 over the final two sets, including .467 in the decisive fifth set and stunned the nation's No. 2-ranked team the Brandon Bobcats 3-2 (25-23, 18-25, 14-25, 25-23, 25-12) Saturday night at the Duckworth Centre. The Wesmen committed just three errors over the final two sets and had eight kills on 15 attacks with one error in the fifth.
It was the first loss of the season for Brandon (5-1) and moved Winnipeg to 2-4 on the season with the No. 1- and 2-ranked teams already having appeared on their schedule.
"Having a big crowd coming out to support us was awesome and definitely helped us get back in that fourth set and win that fourth set," Wesmen left side Eric Dornez said.
"... It shows what we're capable of, for sure, and what we can build on against these good teams and how can compete against the best teams in the country."
Dornez, who red-shirted last season and is among a glut of players at his position this season, was entrusted to help hold things down in the fifth when the Bobcats threatened on a couple of occasions to spoil the celebrations.
"I'm happy my coach believes in me to put me in a tough situation against Brandon, one of the best teams in the league," said Dornez, who finished with three kills and three block assists. "It means a lot."
Brandon, which hadn't dropped a set in its past two matches and hadn't gone to five all season, got 23 kills on 43 swings from Elliot Viles. Seth Friesen added 15 kills and Robin Baghdady 14.
The Bobcats hit .331 as a team for the night, but made 26 service errors.
The Bobcats seemingly had all the momentum going after the third set in which they hit .381 and held Winnipeg to .000 and forced U of W into nine attack errors.
"I just thought Larry's kids really started playing well. They did exactly what they needed to do," Brandon head coach Grant Wilson said of the momentum shift after the third. "They put us under pressure from the service line. We kinda struggled from the service line and they took full advantage. Full credit to them.
"When you look at the statistics, we looked pretty good. But the end result isn't."