UBC and TWU set to defend CIS titles

 HAMILTON (March 4, 2012) – The top-seeded Alberta Pandas set up of an all-Canada West final against archrival UBC at the CIS women’s volleyball championship thanks to a 25-16, 25-16, 25-23 semifinal win over the No. 5 McGill Martlets at McMaster University’s Burridge Gymnasium, Saturday night.

The Pandas will take on the No. 2 Thunderbirds in a rematch of last Saturday’s Canada West final.  UBC, which is looking to claim a remarkable fifth straight CIS banner, booked its ticket for the gold-medal match with a 3-1 defeat of Montreal.

Should the Pandas triumph tomorrow, they would tie UBC for most CIS titles all-time, with eight. The two storied programs have faced off twice over the years in the national final with Alberta prevailing on both occasions, 3-1 in 1999 and 3-2 in 1997

“We have a great challenge ahead of us with the T-Birds to win the championship,” said Alberta head coach Laurie Eisler. “We are the No. 1 seed, but we know they are the favourites, everyone is thinking its there’s to win. 

Left side Whitney Matheson of Edmonton recorded a game-high 11 kills in the match and added a team-high 11 digs. Alena Omelchenko of Kazakhstan reached double-digit numbers again with 10 more kills for the victorious Pandas.

The Thunderbirds defeated the No. 3 Montreal Carabins 25-15, 20-25, 25-19 and 25-22.  Kayla Richey, the CIS player of the year from Roberts Creek, B.C., led UBC with 17.5 points on 13 kills. She also was credited with a game-high 14 digs.

At Kingston, Ont., in the men’s semifinals, the top-seeded Trinity Western Spartans will get the chance to defend their national title on Sunday thanks to a straight-set win (25-20, 25-13, 25-14) over the tournament host Queen’s Gaels 

The Spartans were led by third-year hitter Steven Marshall of Abbotsford, B.C., who had a game-high 14 kills to lead all players on just 23 attacks.

 The Spartans are set to face the third-seeded Laval Rouge et Or which advanced to the gold-medal with a 15-25, 30-28, 25-22, 25-17 victory over the No. 2 Manitoba Bisons.

Tommy Bélisle, the RSEQ rookie of the year from Pierreville, Que., paced the Rouge et Or on Saturday with 18 kills, three blocks and eight digs. He was named game MVP for the winners.

Both finals are on Sunday at 4 p.m. (EST).  SSN Canada will have live webcasts of the matches.

For more information: www.cis-sic.ca