SEMI-FINAL #1: CIS championship: No. 1 UBC downs Laval, gets shot at 3-peat
Courtesy of University of Alberta sports information
EDMONTON (CIS) – The two-time defending national champion and top-seeded University of British Columbia Thunderbirds continued their march to glory unabated thanks to a straight sets victory over the No. 5 Laval Rouge et Or (25-19, 25-22, 25-17) in the first semifinal of the 2010 CIS women’s volleyball championship at the University of Alberta, Saturday evening.
Championship website (live webcasts): http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/wvball
With the win, the T-Birds advance to Sunday’s gold-medal
match at 6 p.m. Mountain Time where they’ll face the winner
of the second semifinal between No. 3 Manitoba and No. 7 Alberta,
the tournament host.
UBC is vying to become the fifth team in history to repeat as CIS women’s volleyball champion. The last program to do so was Alberta, which claimed sixth straight banners from 1995to 2000.
The Laval will play for bronze Sunday at 3 p.m. The Quebec finalist Rouge et Or finished fourth a year ago in Fredericton following a five-set loss to Montreal in the bronze match.
The T-Birds haven’t dropped a set yet at this year’s national championship after putting together a perfect 20-0 season in Canada West play, and winning the conference crown.
Reigning CIS player of the year Liz Cordonier led the Thunderbird offence against Laval with 10 kills and a .320 hitting percentage. The fifth-year Vancouver native also spun an ace and brought up eight Laval attacks.
Fourth-year middle Jen Hinze, Cordonier’s teammate on the Canadian national team, had a strong match as well, picking up nine kills, one ace and three combined blocks.
Quebec conference rookie of the year Eve Trepanier, also a member of the CIS all-rookie squad, paced the Rouge et Or attack with a match-high 13 kills, but was the lone bright spot on an otherwise stymied Laval offence.
The UBC defence forced the Rouge et Or into 28 attack errors, and a team hitting percentage of .018. No other Laval player finished with more than five kills.
“We trust in our team defence, and our blocking, and if that what it takes to win, when our offence isn’t at its best, then we can do that,” said UBC head coach Doug Reimer, who was named CIS coach of the year for a record fifth time on Thursday.
“You know, usually we hit a little above .200 as a team, and today we were slightly off that mark, but I would give us a B+. I mean, give Laval credit, they dug a lot of balls that most other teams would maybe block, but not dig. They’re a really scrappy team, and played us tough defensively,” continued Reimer.
Mélanie Savoie, a second-team all-Canadian from St-Sylvestre, Que., who was dominant in Laval’s quarter-final upset of No. 4 Regina, was silenced against a much bigger UBC block. The Canadian national team member registered five kills, but a -.133 attack percentage, along with two serve receive errors.
“Their middles are quite a bit bigger than our attackers, so we tried to play a speed game, but in a speed game, the ball movement has to be absolutely perfect with perfect timing, and tonight we didn’t have that,” said third-year Laval coach Alain Pelletier, whose team was losing 3-0 to UBC in the semifinal round for the second year in a row.
“We lost in three straight, but last year against UBC, we lost by scores of 12 and 15, this year, we showed a lot of improvement, and I know we’ll back in the championship semifinal again next year,” Pelletier added.
Laval was at its defensive best in the second set, finishing with 22 points, despite a -.121 attack rating. The Rouge et Or managed to find even footing against the Birds in every set, but just didn’t have the ability to get past them.
In the second stanza, after an early 6-6 score, the Thunderbirds put together an 8-2 run to lead 14-8, but Laval was soon back in it at 16-14. The Rouge et Or continued to hang around, but UBC’s superior play gave them the edge in play when needed, turning a 23-22 advantage into a 25-22 win, and a two nothing match lead.
At the second technical timeout of the third, Laval actually led on UBC 16-15, but the Birds ran the table from there, capping off a 10-1 run with a Hinze kill.
“I think we should feel confident,” stated Reimer. “We have a great respect for our abilities, and that’s brought us to this point, which is where we wanted to be. Now, we’ll get set for an opponent that we’ll respect, but believe we can beat.”
NOTES: Laval’s last win over UBC at the CIS championship came in the 2006 final when the second-seeded Rouge et Or beat the No. 1 Thunderbirds to capture the lone national title in program history.
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE & RESULTS (all times LOCAL: Mountain Time)
Friday, March 5
Quarter-final #1: No. 1 UBC 3, No. 8 Saint Mary’s 0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-13)
Quarter-final #2: No. 5 Laval 3, No. 4 Regina 0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-19)
Quarter-final #3: No. 3 Manitoba 3, No. 6 Toronto 0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-19)
Quarter-final #4: No. 7 Alberta 3, No. 2 Montreal 0 (25-20, 25-18, 27-25)
Saturday, March 6
Consolation #1: Regina 3, Saint Mary’s 0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-9)
Consolation #2: Toronto 3, Montreal 2 (26-24, 25-22, 24-26, 22-25, 16-14)
Semi-final #1: UBC 3, Laval 0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-17)
20:00 Semi-final #2: No. 3 Manitoba vs. No. 7 Alberta (SSN Canada webcast)
Sunday, March 7
12:00 Fifth-place: Toronto vs. Regina
15:00 Bronze medal: Laval vs. Semi-final #2 loser (SSN Canada webcast)
18:00 Championship final: UBC vs. Semi-final #2 winner (SSN Canada webcast)