DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
It wasn't the way Garrett Jones wanted to end his post-secondary playing days, but the fifth-year senior still sees growth in his Winnipeg Wesmen.
Jones had seven kills and hit a team-high .462 on Senior Night Saturday, but the Wesmen men's volleyball team dropped a 3-1 (25-23, 26-24, 18-25, 25-20) Canada West conference decision at the Duckworth Centre.
The Wesmen close the conference season with a record of 7-15 and outside the playoff picture, making Saturday Jones' last stand in a Wesmen uniform.
"I'm just really thankful for everyone who was here along the way, all the teammates and stuff. It's been good. Really good," Jones said.
"It was a tough season, but this team was ready to grind and fight every day. So there was a lot of really good growth this year and I'm sure the guys are going to be coming back next year to show what we're really made of and come back with a little bit stronger record."
Adrian Dyck led the Wesmen with 14 kills. Winnipeg hit .151 on the night and held Alberta to .129.
Taryq Sani had a match-high 16 kills for the Golden Bears (17-5), who will now prepare for a post-season run as a top-three team in the Canada West.
Head coach Terry Danyluk decided against playing one of his top guns in the season finale. Danyluk said Alex McMullin got hit on Friday and the team rested him as a precaution.
The Golden Bears played a long bench, sitting Sani for much of the third set and going 11 deep on the bench.
"A lot of the changes happened because Winnipeg forced them on us. Some of our guys that have typically been fairly consistent didn't play well so it gave us an opportunity to have some other guys," Danyluk said. "
"... Both teams gave up streaks of points — six, seven-point leads — and that's been an issue for us most of the year and something we have to try and solidify before playoffs start."