SEMIFINAL #1: Laval returns to national final
Courtesy of Queen’s University sports information
KINGSTON, Ont. (CIS) – The third-seeded Laval Rouge et Or advanced to the gold-medal final at the CIS men’s volleyball championship thanks to a 15-25, 30-28, 25-22, 25-17 semifinal victory over the No. 2 Manitoba Bisons at Queen’s University’s ARC, Saturday evening.
In Sunday’s final at 4 p.m. Eastern – live on ssncanada.ca - Laval will face either top-ranked and defending national champion Trinity Western or tournament host Queen’s, the No. 5 seed.
The RSEQ champions, who return to the title match for the first time since a straight-set loss to Alberta in 2009, hope to put an end to a 17-year domination by Western schools in CIS men’s volleyball. The Rouge et Or were the last team from outside the Canada West conference to win the Tantramar Trophy back in 1994, when they claimed a third banner in five seasons - and the third in program history.
Manitoba will go for bronze Sunday at 1 p.m. Making their first appearance at the tournament since 2006, the Canada West finalists were hoping to capture a record 11th Tantramar Trophy, but will remain tied with cross-town rival Winnipeg for at least one more year.
With the win, Laval improved to 26-3 overall this season against CIS opponents. All three losses came at the hands of Manitoba in the pre-season, when the Bisons travelled to Quebec and prevailed 3-2 in Trois-Rivières (Oct. 13) and 3-1 and 3-2 in Quebec City (Oct. 14-15).
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.
Manitoba was led by middle hitter Carson Kauenhowen of Winnipeg, who finished with eight kills, seven blocks and a service ace.
“Saving four set points in the second set was for sure the turning point for us”, said Laval head coach Pascal Clément. “It was probably a question of confidence in the first set. We were holding back while the Bisons came in strong. But once we felt that we could get our game going and Karl De Grandpré found his rhythm, it was nice to see.”
Bisons head coach Garth Pischke commended De Grandpré, a four-time all-Canadian also from Pierreville, for his play.
“With De Granpré's serves they got some runs on us, he played a phenomenal game and we didn't have an answer for him,” said Pischke. “If we had found a way to even neutralize him a little bit we certainly would have had a better chance.”
The Bisons got off to a great start in the first set as they rattled off five consecutive points after the two teams had been even at 5-5 to take a 10-5 lead. Laval did not go away though as Manitoba service errors and big blocks earned them four consecutive points to bring them within two. Manitoba held their lead going into the technical timeout as they had a 16-13 lead at the break.
Manitoba was strong out of the timeout, as they scored four of the next five points in the set to take a 20-14 lead, prompting Laval to call a timeout. The Bisons weren’t deterred by the break in the action, as they continued to be strong on the attack and defensively as they earned five of the next six points to clinch the first set by a 25-15 margin.
Laval’s attack was much more effective early in the first set as they took an early 3-0 lead over the Bisons to begin the frame. Manitoba fought their way back however and eventually tied the game up at seven points apiece. The teams traded the next 10 points to make it a 12-12 game, but Manitoba came alive with four straight points just before the technical timeout to take a 16-12 lead.
The Rouge et Or began to claw their way back into the game after the technical timeout as they took four of the first six points after the technical timeout to make it an 18-17 set, forcing Manitoba to call a timeout. Laval kept rolling after the break in the action to extend their point streak to seven and force Manitoba to use their second timeout. The stoppage appeared to give Manitoba an edge as after a point from the Rouge et Or the Bisons put together a three point streak, forcing Laval to call a timeout of their own. Manitoba recorded the next two points of the set off of big blocks before Laval used their second timeout of the set with Manitoba up 23-22.
After the timeout the teams traded the next 12 points before the Rouge et Or took the set by a 30-28 margin, breaking Manitoba’s set point four times along the way.
The third set picked up where the second left off as the teams went point for point for much of the frame with Laval earning the biggest lead at any point in the set when they took an 11-8 lead. Manitoba played their way back into the set, but couldn’t regain the lead prior to the technical timeout as they trailed 16-14 at the break.
The second half of the set was just as close as the first. After Laval opened up a five point lead which forced a Manitoba timeout the Bisons mounted their comeback, bringing Laval within two at 24-22 but couldn’t muster enough to prolong the set as Laval took the frame by a 25-22 score to earn a 2-1 lead in the game.
Manitoba appeared to be the stronger side in the fourth set, but not for long. After the Bisons took a 5-2 lead, the Rouge et Or attack came alive and went on a five point run, forcing the Bisons to use one of their timeouts. After the Manitoba timeout, Karl De Grandpre took over, registering kill after kill to spark Laval’s attack. The Rouge et Or went into the technical timeout with a 16-11 lead.
Laval was crisp out of the technical timeout and passed the ball very effectively to spark a 3-1 run which, in turn, forced Manitoba to use its second timeout of the set to quell the momentum. The Laval attack didn’t relent despite the stoppage, and produced six of the final ten points of the match to take the fourth set by a 25-17 margin and clinch the match 3-1.
Kills: Karl De Grandpré (25), Tommy Bélisle (18),
Jérémie Lortie (13)
Points: Karl De Grandpré (28,5), Tommy Bélisle (19,5)
Blocks: Jérémie Lortie (3), Tommy Bélisle (3)
Digs: Pierre-Alexis Lapointe (24), Karl De Grandpré (13)
Service aces: Karl De Grandpré (3)
Assists: Justin Boudreault (48)
Player of the match: Tommy Bélisle
Kills: Dane Pischke (14), Ryan Munt (9)
Points: Dane Pischke (15), Ryan Munt (10)
Blocks: Chris Komishon (8), Carson Kauenhowen (7)
Digs: Chris Komishon (19), Derek Nieroda (17)
Service aces: Dane Pischke (1), Carson Kauenhowen (1)
Assists: Chris Komishon (37)
Player of the match: Carson Kauenhowen
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE & RESULTS
NOTE: Live webcast of all games on SSN Canada – in partnership with QTV.
Friday, March 2
13:00 Quarter-final #1: Laval 3, Calgary 1 (23-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-15)
15:00 Quarter-final #2: Manitoba 3, Western 2 (25-22, 25-27, 25-17, 22-25, 19-17)
18:00 Quarter-final #3: Queen’s 3, Alberta 1 (25-23, 25-18, 25-27, 25-23)
20:00 Quarter-final #4: Trinity Western 3, Dalhousie 0 (25-14, 25-22, 25-17)
Saturday, March 3
13:00 Consolation #1: Calgary 3, Western 0 (25-14, 25-21, 25-6)
15:00 Consolation #2: Alberta 3, Dalhousie 0 (25-14, 25-14, 25-13)
18:00 Semifinal #1: Laval 3, Manitoba 1 (15-25, 30-28, 25-22, 25-17)
20:00 Semifinal #2: Queen’s vs. Trinity Western
Sunday, March 4
11:00 5th place: Calgary vs. Alberta
13:00 Bronze medal: Manitoba vs. TBD
16:00 Championship final: Laval vs. TBD