UBC and University of Toronto win conference titles

WINNIPEG – The UBC Thunderbirds and the University of Toronto Varsity Blues are the Canada West and Ontario women’s volleyball champions after victories in their respective conference finals on Saturday.

In Winnipeg, the Thunderbirds withstood a strong challenge from the University of Manitoba Bisons to win their third consecutive conference crown with a 25-17, 25-17, 23-25, 20-25, 15-8 victory. UBC heads to next week’s CIS championships with a perfect 22-0 record in regular season and playoff action combined.

Conference MVP Liz Cordonier, led the UBC attack with 16 kills, while teammate Shanice Marcelle added 14, and All-Star Jen Hinze 11. For the Bisons, Kate Wasyliw collected 12 kills while four players posted double digit figures in digs led by libero Nicole Hall with 20.

Both teams advance to the University of Alberta to participate in the CIS national championship. The third team from Canada West heading to the tournament is the Regina Cougars, who beat Trinity Western in the bronze medal game earlier on Saturday in another five-set thriller 25-20, 22-25, 25-23, 21-25, 15-12.

In Hamilton, the U of T defeated the McMaster Marauders 25-20, 25-23, 25-19 to advance to the CIS championships.

Michelle Wood was selected the match MVP earning 18 digs and three assists for the Blues. Karlee Diesing added 16 kills. Heather Bansley, who wore Canadian beach volleyball colours last year at the Francophone Games and on the World Tour circuit, also scored in double figures with 12 points on 10 kills, and two aces. She also dug 19 balls on defence.

Fifth-year senior setter Jenn Holt was McMaster’s MVP with 25 assists, 12 digs, and five blocks assists.

The University of Western Ontario (London) defeated Queen’s University (Kingston) in the third place match 25-16, 25-13, 25-22.

Men’s playoffs

In the Ontario Conference quarterfinals, Guelph and Western advanced to next week’s Final Four tournament with hard fought victories. Guelph defeated Windsor 23-25, 25-12, 23-25, 25-18, 15-12 while Western took Waterloo 27-25, 25-17, 24-26, 25-12. The victors join Queen’s and McMaster for the championship tournament next weekend in Hamilton.

In the Canada West Conference, the Thompson River University Wolfpack squared its series with the Brandon Bobcats at 1-1 with a 25-20, 20-25, 25-20, 25-19 victory. The third and decisive match is Sunday in Brandon at 2 p.m. (local time).

Also on Sunday is game two of the Atlantic Conference final between the Dalhousie Tigers and the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton at 2 p.m. The number-two nationally ranked Tigers won the opening match Friday.

In Quebec City, game one of the Quebec conference championship final between the number-one ranked and undefeated Laval Rouge et Or and the Universite de Montreal is scheduled for 2 p.m.