DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
The Winnipeg Wesmen flipped the script in the second set Thursday, and shook off a sluggish start to pull off a four-set win over the Brandon Bobcats.
Jess Friesen matched a career-high with 10 kills and the Wesmen women's volleyball team rallied from a set down to defeat BU 3-1 (14-25, 25-21, 25-19, 25-17) in a Canada West conference match at the Duckworth Centre.
Emma Parker had 12 kills to lead the Wesmen, who hit .221 for the match, their third-highest output of the conference season.
Kalena Schulz added nine kills and tied a career-high with 17 digs for Winnipeg (4-13). Friesen added three total blocks, including two solos, in giving the Wesmen a much-needed middle presence.
"(Brandon) came out and they just played their game and we just needed a little more time to warm up," Wesmen head coach Diane Scott quipped of the first-set struggle. "As the match went on we got better and better.
"Lately in the last few weeks, and particularly this week, it's like there's been some 'ah-ha" moments within the group and particularly with our middles. We've been working hard at it ... but very positive and Jess had a great game."
Nikki Majewski moved into eight all-time in Canada West in career kills with 18 while adding 14 digs to lead Brandon, which fell to 3-16. Rayvn Wiebe added 12 kills and Michelle Egger had 10 kills and 10 digs. Libero Caitlin Le had a match-high 15 digs.
Brandon hit .435 in handily winning the first set, but hit .098 the rest of the way.
"(Winnipeg's) passing improved and they ran the middles and our middles we just didn't have an answer to it," Brandon head coach Lee Carter said. "They were scoring in the middle, scoring in the middle and we tried but they were just able to score more there than we were able to defend.
"... The more the game feels out of control the more you play safe. And the more you play safe the more game slips away. Kudos to (Winnipeg). They bounced back from a first set where we were near perfect."
The two teams will meet again Saturday in Brandon to finish the home-and-home series.