Sparkling start for Spartans, Thunderbirds at CIS Championships

 KINGSTON, Ont. (March 3, 2012) – The defending national champion Trinity Western Spartans easily advanced to the Final Four at the CIS men’s volleyball championship with a 25-14, 25-22, 25-17 victory over the Dalhousie Tigers in the last quarter-final of the tournament held at Queen’s University, Friday night.

The win sets up an intriguing semifinal between top-seeded Trinity Western and tournament host Queen’s, Saturday at 8 p.m. Eastern. In the early semifinal, at 6 p.m., No. 2 Manitoba will battle No. 3 Laval.

The Spartans, who improved to 32-2 overall this season versus CIS opponents, hope to reach the national final for the third straight year.

Ben Ball, a fifth-year setter from Abbotsford, B.C., named the CIS player of the year on Thursday, earned game-MVP honours for the Canada West champions. with 38 assists and a .468 hitting percentage.

“It was good to get out on the court finally after being here all week, first set I thought we were a little inefficient,” said TWU’s head coach Ben Josephson. “I was worried how we came out but our guys found their rhythm and played some good volleyball.”

In the other quarterfinals the Gaels defeated the Alberta Golden Bears 25-23, 25-18, 25-27, 25-23, the Manitoba Bisons edged the Western Mustangs 25-22, 25-27, 25-17, 22-25, 19-17 and Laval Rouge et Or bounced back from slow start to beat the Calgary Dinos 23-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-15.

On the women’s side in Hamilton, McGill edged St. Mary’s 26-24, 25-18, 20-25, 23-25, 15-13, Alberta defeated host McMaster 25-19, 25-15, 24-26, 25-18, the defending champion UBC Thunderbirds bounced Queen’s 25-19, 25-19, 25-16 and the Montreal Carabins beat Trinity Western 25-22, 11-25, 25-21, 25-23.

SSN Canada will have live webcasts of all matches, including the main and consolation brackets.

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