DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
The Winnipeg Wesmen not only pulled off the upset, they did so in dominant fashion.
The Wesmen women's volleyball team will play for the championship of the Wesmen Classic on Monday after knocking off the No. 3-ranked Dalhousie Tigers 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-8) in a semifinal on Sunday at the Duckworth Centre.
The win came after the Wesmen beat Saint Mary's earlier in the day in a must-win pool-play match that kept them in the championship side of the draw and in position to capture a title in the first year women's volleyball has been featured at the annual holiday event.
"The big difference was our defence and we just never let up and just kept going," Wesmen interim head coach Phil Hudson said. "It gave us chance after chance to get a kill. Defence is about hard work and determination, and they sure had it tonight. Really proud of how they played when the other team had the ball."
Madison Fyvie had 29 digs to lead that defensive performance, which included a number of scramble-balls that kept rallies alive, most of which the Wesmen wound up winning.
"It's super-motivating when you have people diving all over the place and then somebody puts the ball away," Hudson said. "It's only worth one point, but sometimes it ends up being worth more than that just in your mind. We also served very well today which put them out of system, which allowed our block to set up, which allowed our defence to play a little bit more around the block and be prepared ahead of time. Very seldom were we in a one-on-one situation. It's a great win against a very, very good team, so I'm really happy and proud for the girls."
The win sets up a crosstown showdown at 3 p.m. between the Wesmen and the Manitoba Bisons, who swept the Saint Mary's Huskies in the other semifinal. The Bisons are the only team to go through the tournament undefeated, having won four matches in four outings.
The Wesmen are now 3-1 through two days and, despite coming into Sunday potentially on the outside looking in on the championship picture, managed to finish in first in Pool A thanks to their win over SMU and Guelph's upset loss to Lakehead.
Dal and SMU will play in a third-place match at 10 a.m.
Guelph and Lakehead will play for fifth place at 10 a.m., and Brandon and McMaster will face off for seventh place at 1 p.m.