Photos and story by: DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
David Bommersbach sure looked like he was back to form last Friday, right in time for the Canada West post-season.
“Any time you don’t play for a month and a half it’s a little different,” the fifth-year left side said Wednesday following one of the team’s final practices before a best-of-three quarter-final series against the Brandon Bobcats commences Friday.
Bommersbach missed eight matches between Jan. 12 and Feb. 10 after going down to injury in practice on Jan. 11.
Bommersbach returned to the lineup last week and registered 10 kills on 14 swings with no errors in a straight-sets win at MacEwan.
“Attacking-wise, I was not bad that night,” he said.
Head coach Larry McKay had apparently seen enough to know his top offensive producer was good to go and sat him Saturday night with sights on the post-season already locked in.
“He’s making good progress,” head coach Larry McKay said. “He’s a guy who’s missed five weeks, roughly, not just physical, but with touching the ball. He’s still coming back and he’s trying to get the touches back as quick as he can. It’s not something you can rush, but yeah we’re hoping he can score some points for us.”
Bommersbach is largely positive about his progress on the road back to his true form.
“It’s coming along pretty well,” he said. “This week has been really good, been getting some good practices in. Last week was a little more restricted, so hopefully by the weekend I’ll be 100 per cent.”
The challenge for the Wesmen now is taking on the fourth-seeded Bobcats, a team that finished 17-7 on the season and won five of its last six heading into the playoffs.
They are led by a pair of outside threats in second-year Australian Elliott Viles (259) and Brandon native Seth Friesen (272), both big swingers who finished in the top 15 in the conference in kills.
The Bobcats aren’t solely reliant on those two to carry the load, however, making a strong serving game of high importance for Winnipeg.
“Hopefully we’ve got enough other areas where we can be good, but (serving) is a super-important area, for sure,” McKay said. “… It’s almost pick your poison. (Viles and Friesen) can hit cross-court, they can hit line, they can hit sharp shots so we’re going to have to play some games and take away some things and see if we can make some right guesses, almost, against these guys.”
The teams split their conference meetings with the Wesmen winning a five-setter at home Nov. 28, 2017 and the Bobcats returning the favour three nights later in a five-setter in Brandon.
“You sorta remember stuff and we’re pretty familiar with them. We’ve played them a lot over the last year or two years,” Bommersbach said. “We’ll definitely take some points from those matches.
“In my absence, we had a lot of guys step up and play real well. Hopefully I’ll be playing good enough to get some wins.”
Match 1 in the best-of-three goes Friday at 7 p.m. at Brandon’s Healthy Living Centre. Match 2 will be Saturday at 7 p.m. and Match 3, if necessary, would go Sunday at 4 p.m.
All matches can be streamed on canadawest.tv