DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
In its first crack at the Wesmen Classic, the Wesmen women's volleyball team delivered another big first for the University of Winnipeg.
Emma Parker had a match-high 18 kills, plus 14 digs, and was named tournament MVP as the Wesmen women defeated the Manitoba Bisons 3-0 (25-17, 25-9, 25-18) to capture the 53rd annual Classic championship Monday afternoon.
In the first year women's volleyball has been featured at the annual event, the Wesmen brought back the first Classic title since a men's basketball win in 2006.
"We're very excited, every single one of us," Parker said. "... (Rylie Dickson) has been giving me some great sets and the defence behind me has been helping us out. I just try to put the ball away as much as I can, figure out different shots and change it up when I can."
Libero Madison Fyvie, who had 15 digs, was named a tournament all-star for the Wesmen, who started the tournament 1-1 before tearing off three straight wins and back-to-back sweeps.
"After the Christmas break, it's challenging coming back without practising or playing for quite a while, and I was hoping they were going to progress every game and help us prepare for the second half," interim head coach Phil Hudson said. "But they did definitely get better. We had more confidence as we went on, especially in our serving and our defence. Every player on the team progressed lots throughout the tournament, so it was a very productive tournament."
Kalena Schulz had a match-high 19 digs for the Wesmen, who had 66 digs as a team.
Parker hit .395 and five Wesmen players hit at least .300 on the night. As a team, Winnipeg hit .364 to Manitoba's .079.
Light Uchechukwu and Kearley Abbott of the Bisons were named tournament all-stars. Both had five kills and tied for a team-high nine digs apiece in the final. Allison Alcock led the way with six kills.
Dalhousie's Courtney Baker and Saint Mary's Bethany Smith were also named all-stars. The Huskies knocked off Dalhousie in the third-place match earlier in the day.
Also Monday, the McMaster Marauders swept the Brandon Bobcats for seventh, and the Guelph Gryphons swept the Lakehead Thunderwolves for fifth.