Perfect season just one win away for UBC Thunderbirds

EDMONTON – The UBC Thunderbirds will face a familiar, and probably one of their least favourite, opponents in their quest to complete a perfect season at the CIS Nationals women’s volleyball tournament.

The Thunderbirds advanced to the championship match defeating the Université Laval Rouge et Or 25-19, 25-22, 25-17 on Saturday in the semifinal. They’ll face the University of Manitoba Bisons which beat the Alberta Pandas 25-6, 25-17, 21-25, 27-25 in the other semi.

UBC, now with a 26-0 record in regular season and playoff action this season, defeated the Bisons in the Canada West conference final last week in a hard-fought five game thriller.

The winner in Sunday’s final will also tie the CIS mark for most women’s national titles at seven, currently shared by Alberta and Winnipeg.

CIS player of the year Liz Cordonier led the Thunderbird offence with 10 kills while her national team teammate Jen Hinze, scored nine kills, one ace and three combined blocks.

Quebec conference rookie of the year Eve Trepanier paced the Rouge et Or attack with 13 kills.

“We trust in our team defence, and our blocking, and if that what it takes to win, when our offence isn’t at its best, then we can do that,” said UBC head coach Doug Reimer. ‘’Give Laval credit they played us tough defensively.’’

First-team all-Canadian Ashley Voth was Manitoba’s spark with 17 kills. Fourth-year middle Amy Penner had an impressive .800 hitting percentage.

“I thought we passed and served really well,’’ said
Manitoba head coach Ken Bentley. ‘’We created enough opportunities in every set to win, and when we didn’t get a point, we were strong defensively.”

In consolation play, Regina beat St. Mary’s in straight games while Toronto upset number-two Montreal in five winning the fifth 16-14.

The UBC-Manitoba final is at 6 p.m. (local time) preceded by the Alberta-Laval third place match at 3 p.m. Toronto and Regina play for fifth at noon. Matches are broadcast live on-line at http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/wvball

Queen’s wins men’s Ontario title

In Hamilton at McMaster University, Queen’s Gaels completed an exciting men’s volleyball OUA Final Four tournament on Saturday winning a five set thriller over the Guelph Gryphons in the championship match 25-22, 17-25, 17-25, 25-22, 15-13. It is the third Gaels men’s volleyball conference title in five years.

Joren Zeeman recorded 24 points for Queen’s; Bryan Fautley added 11 kills while Niko Rukavina had 10. Winston Rosser of Whitby, Ont., was the leading hitter for Guelph with 14 kills.

Meanwhile in Edmonton, The University of Alberta Golden Bears and Trinity Western University advanced to the Canada West championship match with semifinal victories on Saturday at the University of Alberta

The Golden Bears defeated the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack 25-18, 23-25, 25-17, 25-20. It was the Bears first conference match in a month after a receiving a bye to this weekend’s final four tournament. Thomas Jarmoc led the Bears with 19 kills and two blocks while Spencer Leiske added 15 kills. Kevin Tillie led TRU with 16 kills, two aces and three blocks.

In the other semi, TWU defeated the Calgary Dinos 22-25, 29-27, 25-20, 17-25, 15-9. Left side hitter Steven Marshall led TWU with 21 kills and three aces while Marc Howatson added 17 kills. Calgary was led by Graham Vigrass with 14 kills Oleg Podporin with 11 kills and four aces.

The Alberta- TWU final is at 4 p.m. preceded by the Calgary-TRU bronze match at 2 p.m. All four squads are already assured a berth at the CIS championships. Alberta is vying for a third straight conference title.