DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
For a Winnipeg Wesmen women's volleyball team seemingly finding its groove, this was not how things were supposed to go.
Britt Davis had 11 kills and 10 of Regina's 59 digs on the night and the Cougars breezed to a 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-23) Canada West conference victory at the Duckworth Centre, snapping a nine-match losing streak in the process.
The result also put an end to Winnipeg's modest two-match win streak and send the Wesmen to a 4-7 record. Regina improved to 2-9.
Fresh off handling the crosstown Manitoba Bisons, the Wesmen ran into a Cougars team that put up defences they simply weren't able to navigate. The Cougars had 19 total blocks as a team, including five solos.
"We struggled in all facets of the game," Wesmen interim head coach Phil Hudson said. "They outpassed us, they outdug us, they outplayed us at the net, they outserved us. It looked like we were playing with a little bit of non-confidence once we didn't win that first set and struggled with trying to make plays. And if we did make a good play, they would make a good play back and it just didn't end up in points for us. They played very well and they were in-system most of the time."
A match might not be won in the first set, but the Cougars certainly turned the tides with a dramatic run. Regina took a timeout at 19-13 and then proceeded to score the next four points to get within two. After a Regina service error made it 20-17, the Cougars scored the next seven points with five of those points coming off kills from Diana Lumbala (three) and Davis (2).
Sierra Parris-Kruger had a match-high 20 digs for Regina, and Lumbala added 12 kills. The Cougars hit a season-high .211 for the match, the first time this season they've hit plus-.200.
"I think tonight the team was able to put all the things into that match that we've needed to do and learn," Regina head coach Melanie Sanford said. "Every match that we play there's a lesson and I think finally we were able to play through some things.
"I thought the team did a really good job defensively. We worked quite hard this week scouting Winnipeg and I think the team ... had a pretty good understanding but, of course, it's another thing to go and execute that."
The Wesmen, who hit .066 for the night, were led by Kalena Schulz's 10 kills and eight digs. Schulz made just two errors on 24 swings and hit a team-high .333. Emma Parker also had 10 kills and Madison Fyvie had a team-high 16 digs.
The two teams meet again Saturday night at 7 p.m. CT in Winnipeg.