DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
The Winnipeg Wesmen will go into Day 2 of their own tournament with a chance to finish in the top half of their pool.
The Wesmen women's volleyball team earned a split in its two pool-play matches on Saturday on Day 1 of the Wesmen Classic, and will play its final pool-play match Sunday looking to go 2-1 heading into the playoff round.
The Wesmen opened the day with a dominating 3-0 (25-18, 25-10, 25-18) victory over the Lakehead Thunderwolves, but dropped a 3-1 (23-25, 25-16, 25-23, 25-19) decision to the Guelph Gryphons in their second match of the day.
What that means is Sunday's noon match against the Saint Mary's Huskies will ultimately decide if the Wesmen will finish in the top two of Pool A and have a shot at the championship side of the bracket. The Wesmen will need a win and hope a tiebreaker formula goes their way to force their way into the top two.
"For having a lot of time off, I thought we played a good game against Lakehead," Wesmen interim head coach Phil Hudson said. "Tonight we played OK. We just couldn't get crucial kills at crucial times. We didn't win very many long rallies and (Guelph) played very well defensively. Our first contact wasn't quite as good so we were up against two blockers quite a bit throughout the match. But they hung in there with a bit of a depleted lineup and made the best we can."
The Wesmen played without fifth-year left side Kalena Schulz (illness) and third-year middle blocker Taylor Boughton (knee), and then lost freshman left side Selva Planincic to injury during the night match.
Saint Mary's went to 2-0 thanks to a five-set victory over Guelph earlier in the day. SMU also defeated Lakehead in three.
In Pool B, Manitoba moved to 2-0 thanks to a straight-sets win over Brandon, which finished the day 0-2. Brandon was also defeated by McMaster earlier in the day. McMaster and Dalhousie are both 1-1 after the Tigers lost to Manitoba to start the day and then swept the Marauders in the night match.
Each team will finish its pool matches Sunday and playoff rounds will begin at 6 p.m.
In a pre-match ceremony, Wesmen Athletics also unveiled two more names for induction into the Ring of Honour.
Former all-Canadians and national tournament MVPs Ruth Klassen and Brenda (Boroski) Westwood were given their place in the Ring of Honour as a symbol to their tremendous achievements with the Wesmen women's volleyball teams in the 1980s.