Sixth straight title for UBC

 SHERBROOKE, Que. (March 2, 2013) – The top-seeded University of British Columbia Thunderbirds captured their record-tying sixth straight CIS women’s volleyball title thanks to a dominating 25-13, 25-23, 25-18 gold-medal win over the No. 7 Alberta Pandas on Saturday afternoon at Université de Sherbrooke’s Univestrie Pavilion.

UBC, which finishes the season on a 25-game winning streak, joins Winnipeg (1983-1988) and Alberta (1995-2000) on the short list of teams to claim six consecutive CIS women’s volleyball crown. The T-Birds also add to their record tally with a 10th national banner overall, three more than Winnipeg and Alberta.

The championship game was a rematch of last year’s final, when UBC had to overcome a two sets to one deficit before edging the Pandas 15-12 in the fifth. The T-Birds made it clear from the start that they didn’t want the 2013 title match to be that close and cruised to victory in just over an hour.

Lisa Barclay, a third-year outside hitter from Brandon, Man., was named tournament MVP for the second straight season, minutes after she put an end to the competition with a thunderous kill down the middle. She was accompanied on the all-tourney team by teammates Shanice Marcelle and Brina Derksen-Bergen, two seniors who wrapped up their university career with a fifth gold medal.

Marcelle, who earlier this week was voted CIS player of the year for the second time in three campaigns, accomplished a rare feat with her fifth straight selection as a CIS championship all-star, including MVP honours in 2011.

Barclay tallied a game-high 16 kills – and 18.5 points - while committing only two attacking errors for a remarkable efficiency of .538. The 6-foot-2 junior also chipped in defensively with nine digs.

Marcelle had 11 kills, five digs and four blocks, while Jessica Von Shilling racked up 13.5 points on five service aces, three kills and three solo blocks en route to UBC game-MVP honours.

Krista Zubick was the most productive Panda in a losing cause with nine kills and 10.5 points.
Following a lopsided opening set during which the six-time champs maintained an attack efficiency of .542 as a team, Alberta rebounded with a much better effort in the second frame and was ahead 14-12 before seeing its Canada West rivals mount a comeback to take a commanding two-set lead.

The third stanza was never really in doubt as the UBC jumped out to a quick 8-4 lead and never looked back.

Rounding out the all-tournament squad was Alberta’s Jaki Ellis, Trinity Western teammates Amy Ott and Kelci French, as well as Ottawa’s Karina Krueger Schwanke. A three-time all-Canadian setter, Ellis was wearing the Pandas jersey for the final time.

Zubick received the R.W. Pugh Fair Play Award.

Next year’s CIS championship will be held at the University of Regina from February 28 to March 2.