Manitoba falls in 4 sets to British Columbia in U Sports women’s volleyball national semifinal

The dream of a university national championship is over for the Manitoba Bisons women’s volleyball squad.

Manitoba opened strong before the defensive prowess of the host and seventh-seeded British Columbia Thunderbirds took over, and handed the No. 6 Bisons a 3-1 (20-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-14) loss in the U Sports championship semifinal match in Vancouver late Saturday night.

National rookie of the year Raya Surinx led the Bisons with 14 kills, but committed 11 attack errors to go along with 13 digs. Manitoba second-year setter Katreena Bentley amassed 37 assists and 10 digs.

Led by outside hitter Jayde Robertson, the Thunderbirds starters totalled 19 of the team’s 22 total blocks, including a team-high seven for Robertson. The fifth-year senior also led her team 14 kills and four aces.

Manitoba mustered just six total blocks.

A player hits the ball during a match.
Bisons middle Brenna Bedosky hits the ball past a Thunderbirds defender during their university women’s volleyball national semifinal Saturday. (Rich Lam/UBC Athletics)

The Bisons travelled to the west coast and swept the Thunderbirds in a best-of-three Canada West conference quarter-final series in February, and had their sites set on a return to the national final for the first time in nine years.

Instead, Manitoba will face the No. 5 Dalhousie Tigers — coached by Rick Scott of Souris, Man. — in Sunday’s bronze-medal match at War Memorial Gym. Dalhousie dropped its semifinal match in straight sets to the top-ranked and defending champion Trinity Western Spartans.

The Bisons last earned bronze at nationals in 1999 in Edmonton. Dalhousie’s last medal at nationals was silver in 1984.