VANCOUVER – The No. 5 seed Dalhousie Tigers defeated the sixth-ranked Manitoba Bisons 3-2 (16-25, 25-21, 11-25, 25-21, 18-16) in the bronze medal match at the 2023 U SPORTS Women’s Volleyball Championship, presented by Mikasa at War Memorial Gym in Vancouver, B.C.
An explosive first set saw the Bisons jump out to a 10 to five lead before the Tigers roared back with a five-point run to tie it up. Manitoba slowly took back control as the set went on and eventually pulled away to win 25-16. Dalhousie stepped up its intensity in a back-and-forth second set that saw four lead changes. The AUS champs took control late as Annik Bolden came off the bench to drill an ace and seal a 25-21 win, tying the match at one set apiece. The third set was all Bisons, they rode near-flawless offensive execution to a decisive 25-11 win.
The Tigers refused to be put down in set number four, overcoming several multi-point deficits to pull out a 25-21 victory thanks to a whopping eight kills from U SPORTS player of the year finalist Lucy Glen-Carter.
The fifth set was one for the ages, filled with long rallies fueled by desperate digs from both sides. Dalhousie held an eight to seven lead at the technical switch, but it was Manitoba who had the first crack at match point after going up 14-12. Another monster kill from Glen-Carter brought the Tigers within one, before a solo block by Talia Vydykhan sent the fifth set to extra points. The two teams then each fended up potential match points before a Vydykhan kill and combined block with Grace Calnan ended the final set of an unforgettable bronze medal match as an 18-16 Dalhousie win.
Glen-Carter led all hitters in the match with 20 kills to go along with 13 digs and two blocks. Vydykhan contributed 17 kills of her own, along with seven digs and three blocks for the Tigers. Bisons’ setter Katreena Bentley finished the match with an incredible 55 assists, while Manitoba libero Julia Arnold had a game-high 30 digs. Andi Almonte also had a standout all-around performance for the Bisons, putting up 12 kills and 22 digs.
Dalhousie, the 10-time defending AUS champion, takes home its first national medal since earning silver in 1984. Manitoba’s fourth-place finish marks the Bisons’ best result since they won the U SPORTS championship in 2014.
Mikasa Players of the Game
- Dalhousie: Talia Vydykhan
- Manitoba: Andi Almonte