DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
The Winnipeg Wesmen tour through the top of the Canada West conference continued Thursday in a straight-sets loss to the Brandon Bobcats.
Two weeks after taking on the No. 1-ranked team in the country, the Wesmen men's volleyball team was handed the nationally No. 2-ranked Bobcats. Daniel Thiessen had 13 kills to lead the Wesmen in a 3-0 (25-14, 25-15, 28-26) conference loss at the Healthy Living Centre in Brandon.
Winnipeg (1-4) was held to .160 attacking for the match, a number boosted by its .278 in the third set when the Wesmen gave the Bobcats their biggest fight.
The Wesmen led at 24-23 and 26-25 but couldn't close out the set to keep the match alive. The Wesmen also led by as many as three points in the third and had a two-point edge as late as 22-20.
Freshman Liam Kristjanson, who played his high school volleyball in Brandon, added nine kills for Winnipeg.
"I think at the beginning of the third set we started taking care of the little things," Kristjanson said. "We (had been) letting a lot of points go away just by dropping balls and miscommunications. I think once we started taking care of the little things and we settled into our roles I think we can compete with this team and we can compete with anyone in the conference. We're a strong team and I think we showed that in the third set."
The Bobcats, the national runners-up in 2018-19, moved to 5-0 on the season behind 17 kills on .483 attacking from Robin Baghdady. Elliott Viles added 12 kills and a team-high six digs.
Brandon hit .433 for the night and had 17 blocks to Winnipeg's four.
The Wesmen will host Brandon on Saturday (5 p.m.) to continue the home-and-home series.