DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
Haille Bujan still has friends on the other side of the net. But nothing compares to "family."
Bujan, a junior middle blocker who spent two seasons with the Manitoba Bisons, had her biggest match in a Winnipeg Wesmen uniform Saturday, notching a career-high-tying 15 kills to help the Wesmen women's volleyball team beat the Bisons 3-1 (25-18, 19-25, 25-20, 25-21) in a Canada West conference match at the Investors Group Athletic Centre.
Bujan hit .393 for the night with only four errors on 28 swings.
And while Bujan admits she is still tight with some members of Winnipeg's closest rivals, there is also something special in the situation in which she's currently found herself.
"I have friends on both sides and it's nice to be able to look across the net and know those are my friends," she said. "But this is my family. It just felt good to win in the Bison gym."
Head coach Phil Hudson moved Bujan around a few times on the floor, even having her take some swings at right side. It is a philosophy, Hudson says, that comes from a desire to have well-rounded players capable of filling multiple holes rather than one-dimensional athletes.
"I think the entire idea of how this team has improved so much is that people are becoming better volleyball players and not pigeonholed into one position," Hudson said. "That way they can contribute in more ways than just one and you saw today she had a chance to hit some balls from right side, from the backcourt. It says a lot about the girls to be able to learn how to play more than just one position. ... It's easier to just be good in your one area, but in the long run it helps us as a team if everybody can do more than one thing."
Bujan hopes it continues.
"A little confused and the odd mistake," Bujan said of her transition. "We adapted really well to it, it ended up working out for the better and, honestly, I hope we do it again because it was really fun."
Kearley Abbott's 11 kills led the Bisons (2-8).
The Wesmen will close the first half of conference play Friday and Saturday at home against the Regina Cougars.