DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Wesmen are going through the most painful part of their schedule, which is saying something for a team going through plenty of growing pains.
For the fourth time in the past five weekends of play, the Wesmen faced a nationally-ranked juggernaut and fell in straight sets to the Alberta Pandas 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-20) Friday night at the Duckworth Centre.
Of their second-semester opponents, only the Manitoba Bisons aren't ranked in the top 10, and No. 8 Alberta gave the Wesmen another jolt of reality to the difficulties of navigating the best conference in all of Canada.
"We never stopped hitting, which I thought was good. We don't want to give up on that ever," said second-year middle blocker Jessica Friesen, one of the leaders of a U of W youth movement that has only three players in their third year or later. "Tip defence we've got to work on but other than that it's just being engaged with a mindset that we can do it. We had a phenomenal couple practices the last couple of weeks so we just gotta do it."
Friesen, who had her most efficient night of her career last weekend, was held to two kills and an ace Friday, and lamented the mistakes the Wesmen made and have to clean up before the back end of the doubleheader Saturday night.
"I think just passing and serving that's just bread and butter in our game," she said. "I thought could have been way better. I thought blocking we started the game not as well but we finished getting a lot more touches so we were able to run a little bit more different things."
Ashleigh Laube led Winnipeg (1-20) with seven kills on 15 swings with just one error for a .400 efficiency.
Madison Fyvie had 10 digs to lead the Wesmen in that department, her fifth straight match with double-digit digs and sixth of the past seven.
Alberta fed right side Kory White repeatedly and with good reason. The 5-foot-11 sophomore, who hit 300 kills on the season last weekend, took 36 swings and added 13 more kills to her season total, a match-high.
The Pandas also got nine kills, two aces and eight digs from Erin Corbett.