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MVB | Wesmen rally to shock Bisons in playoff opener

Setter Matt Klysh celebrates a point during the first set of a Winnipeg Wesmen men's volleyball match against the Manitoba Bisons at the Duckworth Centre, March 3, 2022. (David Larkins/Wesmen Athletics)
Setter Matt Klysh celebrates a point during the first set of a Winnipeg Wesmen men's volleyball match against the Manitoba Bisons at the Duckworth Centre, March 3, 2022. (David Larkins/Wesmen Athletics)

WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Wesmen survived an attack from an underdog and scored a valuable victory Thursday night.

The Wesmen fell down 2-1 in sets but rallied to secure a 3-2 (16-25, 25-20, 20-25, 25-18, 15-12) win over the Manitoba Bisons in the opening game of the four-team playoff round robin series at the Duckworth Centre.

The Wesmen also surged back from an 11-7 deficit in the fifth set to secure the win after Manitoba had earlier gone on a three-point run to break a 3-3 tie.

The Wesmen, champions of the East Division, are the pool's top-seeded team, but the No. 4 Bisons certainly didn't look rattled by the notion of being the low team on the table.

In fact, the Bisons split their six conference matches with the Wesmen this season en route to a 7-11 record and a wild-card berth into the post-season.

Daniel Thiessen had a match-high 25 kills and eight digs to lead the Wesmen, who will take on the UBC-Okanagan Heat in the 6 p.m. CT match on Friday.

Nigel Nielsen added 11 kills and libero Darian Picklyk had eight digs.

The Bisons, who face No. 2 Calgary on Friday, got 14 kills from Ben Carelton and 11 kills and 12 digs from Spencer Grahame.

Kyle Martens led three Bisons in double figures in digs with 13. 

Winnipeg hit .185 on the night, while the Bisons hit .169.