DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
The Winnipeg Wesmen gave five seniors a send-off on Saturday, but it turns out they'll get to come back home again after all.
Daniel Thiessen moved closer to setting a new mark in the Wesmen Volleyball history books and the Wesmen men's team made quick work of the visiting Brandon Bobcats, scoring a 3-0 (25-14, 25-20, 25-14) Canada West conference win at te Duckworth Centre.
With the victory, the Wesmen clinched first place in the East Division, and with it, the right to host a four-team playoff pool March 4-6. The Wesmen head to Saskatoon next weekend two matches clear of Saskatchewan but would own the tiebreaker of sets won/lost even if the Huskies are able to win both matches in straight sets.
Saturday represented Senior Night for Will Racano, Zack Thielmann, Michael Corrigan, Ethan Duncan and Thiessen, who had a match-high 18 kills to run his career total to 1,075. He now stands 14 kills shy of Ben Schellenberg's Canada West-era mark for most kills in a career. Schellenberg had 1,089 between 2003 and 2008.
Thiessen also had seven digs and five aces.
Racano sat out with an injury, but Thielmann and Corrigan both got the start, while Duncan — who had his career cut short due to injury — was on the sideline as an assistant coach as he has been all season.
Thielmann finished with a season-high five aces and Corrigan had 37 assists while quarterbacking the Wesmen offence to a .375 attack percentage.
Nigel Nielsen added 15 kills as the Wesmen won their third straight and fourth of their last five matches.
Darian Picklyk, who leads the country in digs, added another 12 to his total, a match-high.
During Set 2 and 3, Picklyk was also named as the inaugural recipient of the Dave Torz Memorial Merit Distinction. The scholarship is named after the former Wesmen player and UWinnipeg employee who passed away in 2021.
Philipp Lauter had nine kills and hit .350 to lead the Bobcats (7-9), who were victimized by 14 Winnipeg aces.