CIS volleyball banners remain in B.C. hands

 HAMILTON – The Trinity Western University Spartans from Langley, B.C., and the UBC Thunderbirds from Vancouver are repeat champions in CIS men’s and women’s volleyball respectively following championship match victories on Sunday.

The second-seeded Thunderbirds extended their amazing streak to five consecutive CIS women’s volleyball titles thanks to a come-from-behind 25-21, 15-25, 19-25, 25-20, 15-12 gold medal win over the No. 1 Alberta Pandas at McMaster University’s Burridge Gymnasium.

After topping the national rankings the entire season, the T-Birds entered the CIS tournament as the No. 2 seed following a five-set loss to the Pandas in last Saturday’s Canada West conference final.

With today’s triumph, UBC adds to its record overall total with a ninth CIS banner in the sport, two more than Alberta and Winnipeg. The victory also brings the T-Birds to within one of the all-time mark of six titles in a row, a record shared by the Pandas and Winnipeg.

Lisa Barclay of Brandon, Man, was named UBC’s top player in the game and collected Tournament-MVP honours as she helped the T-Birds extend their championship dynasty. The second-year player registered 18.5 points on 12 kills, five service aces and 1.5 blocks.

“We just really knew that Alberta’s an amazing team and we had to take every point seriously. We’re not invincible,” said Barclay. “So we had to come out and play - we learned that last weekend. Coming out we really wanted this and fought really hard so I thought we deserved it in the end.”

McGill upset Université de Montréal in four sets for the bronze.

In Kingston, Ont., the top-seeded Trinity Western Spartans repeated as CIS men’s volleyball champions thanks to a 19-25, 25-19, 25-17, 30-28 gold medal win over the No. 3 Laval Rouge et Or at Queen’s University’s ARC.

The Canada West conference champions end the season with a remarkable 34-2 overall record against CIS competition, including straight-set sweeps of No. 8 Dalhousie in Friday’s CIS quarter-finals and of No. 5 Queen’s in Saturday semis.

Trinity Western’s triumph also extends the Canada West domination of the sport. Schools from the Western conference have now claimed 18 consecutive Tantramar Trophies since Laval was crowned in 1994.

“I'm not surprised they came out fast we were expecting it and expecting a lot of emotion,” said Trinity Western head coach Ben Josephson. “We knew they wanted this game and wanted it bad. Excellence happens in all facets of life and these guys are committed to that, they really are true champions."

Fifth year setter Ben Ball of Abbotsford, B.C. caps off a remarkable career for Trinity Western with Tournament MVP honours just three days after being named CIS player of the year. Ball was spectacular in the final game, recording 39 assists to lead Trinity Western to a team hitting percentage of .400. He also recorded two kills, two service aces, five digs and two blocks to round out his game.

Manitoba beat Queen’s in four sets for the bronze.

For more information: www.cis-sic.ca