DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
The Winnipeg Wesmen got cleaned up just in time to pick up their fourth straight Canada West win.
The Wesmen men's volleyball team plodded through the first two sets, but battled back from the brink to pull off a 3-2 (22-25, 26-28, 25-21, 25-21, 15-10) victory over the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack Saturday night at the Duckworth Centre.
The Wesmen (7-7) got their record back to .500 for the first time since the first week of the season.
Setter Mikael Clegg, who gave the Wesmen nine kills and .436 attacking, said he and his teammates cleaned up aspects of their game after a tough second-set loss.
"I think personally I cleaned up the volleyball I was playing and I think everyone else took it on themselves to play a little bit better," Clegg said. "Just little things that I could do to help guys around me. Talk to them a little bit more and making sure I knew where I was going — which is what guys were doing for me — and then letting those guys know where they need to be in certain situations."
After watching TRU (2-10) hit .271 over the first two sets, the Wesmen held the Wolfpack to .160, .071, and .042 in the final three sets to improve to 2-0 in five-set matches this season.
For the second straight night, Daniel Thiessen had 21 kills for Winnipeg, while Nigel Nielsen put up a career-high 15 kills while hitting .406 for the night. He also matched a career-high with seven digs, tops on the team.
The Wolfpack were led by Nimo Benne's 30 kills, which ties the Canada West mark for most kills in a match this season. Brody Kopec added 11 kills. Anton Napolitano had a match-high 11 digs.
TRU hit .177 for the night, while the Wesmen finished at a .233 clip.
"We're not necessarily finding ways to lose, but we're certainly struggling to find ways to win," TRU head coach Pat Hennelly said. "I told the guys I thought we deserved (a win) there and at the end of the match you see us looking around and overthinking things potentially. And just the feel out there is not a team that's pressing for the win, which is unfortunate because we definitely gave ourselves opportunities in three, four and five.
"I'm proud of the effort of the guys tonight. We've just gotta reset and find ways to … get ready for Manitoba (next weekend)."