Courtesy: Laval sports information / Photo credit
QUEBEC CITY (CIS) – The fourth-seeded University of Alberta Pandas rallied from a set down to defeat the Montreal Carabins 3-1 in the second quarter-final duel of the CIS women’s volleyball championship at University Laval’s PEPS Stadium, Friday afternoon.
Championship website (live webcasts): http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/wvball
The Canada West bronze medallists prevailed 18-25, 25-23, 25-20 and 25-22 to earn a semifinal berth against top-ranked and reigning three-time national champion UBC, Saturday at 6 p.m.
Alberta was eliminating the Carabins in the opening round of the CIS tourney for the second straight season. A year ago in Edmonton, the Pandas shocked then-No. 2 Montreal in straight sets but lost its two following matches en route to a fourth-place finish.
The Quebec finalist Carabins started the game well, responding to the challenge by dominating the first set. With only a few errors made and by winning most of the long rallies, Montreal won 25-18.
The competition got fiercer in the second set with seven lead changes. Although the Carabins took the early advantage at 5-1, the Pandas changed things around and quickly tied the match. In the end, even though Montreal was in control at 23-22, the Alberta players rallied and won the set 25-23.
The Carabins took the lead one more time early in the third set before seeing the Pandas climb back from behind. With the score tied 15-15, the wind turned in favour of the Western team, who finally captured the set 25-20.
In the fourth set, the Pandas quickly found their rhythm after taking a 4-0 lead, en route to a 25-22 win.
“We started really tight, which we did last week on Saturday (against Manitoba in the Canada West bronze-medal game)”, analyzed Pandas’ head coach Laurie Eisler. “It gave us some confidence and we learned how to lose tension and at some level learned how to play with it. I was really happy with the team’s ability to ride the ship, to play our style and stick with it.”
“It would have been fun to give the girls a final four experience this year,” said Carabins’ coach Olivier Trudel, obviously disappointed after the game. “Everyone brought her contribution into this match. We have conceded too many long series of points and we lost the groove.”
“It took some time to adjust our block,” added Trudel. “Their forward had a simple pattern, but we were not disciplined enough to counter them.”
Second-team all-Canadian Jaki Ellis was named player of the game for the winners. The 6-foot-1 athlete managed to get 13 kills and a total of 16 points. For Montreal, power hitter Sophie Bergeron-Leblanc was named MVP of the match. She had 12 kills and seven digs.
The Pandas had also defeated the Carabins in the first round of last year’s national championship.
Montreal will be involved in an all-Quebec consolation semifinal Saturday at noon against the Sherbrooke University Vert & Or.
Kills: Jaki Ellis (13), Krista Zubick (9)
Points: Jaki Ellis (16), Krista Zubick (10.5)
Blocks: Jenice Warkentin (3)
Digs: Erin Walsh, Tiffany Proudfoot, Krista Zubick (10)
Service aces: Jennifer Restall (3)
Assists: Alyssa Jones (20)
Player of the match: Jaki Ellis
Kills: Marie-Sophie Nadeau (19), Sophie Bergeron-Leblanc (12)
Points: Marie-Sophie Nadeau (21.5), Gabrielle Vallée-Vachon (12.5), Sophie Bergeron-Leblanc (12)
Blocks: Pamela Drapeau (3)
Digs: Annie-Claude Pellerin (12)
Service aces: Alexandra Lojen (3)
Assists: Alexandra Lojen (40)
Player of the match: Sophie Bergeron-Leblanc
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE & RESULTS
NOTE: Live webcast of all matches at http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/wvball
Friday, March 4
Quarter-final #1: UBC 3, Sherbrooke 1 (25-13, 25-18, 23-25, 25-12)
Quarter-final #2: Alberta 3, Montreal 1 (18-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-22)
18:00 Quarter-final #3: No. 2 Trinity Western vs. No. 7 Western Ontario
20:00 Quarter-final #4: No. 3 Laval vs. No. 6 UNB
Saturday, March 5
12:00 Consolation #1: Sherbrooke vs. Loser quarter-final #2
14:00 Consolation #2: Loser quarter-final #3 vs. Loser quarter-final #4
18:00 Semifinal #1: UBC vs. Winner quarter-final #2
20:00 Semifinal #2: Winner quarter-final #3 vs. Winner quarter-final #4
Sunday, March 6
11:00 5th place
13:00 Bronze medal
16:30 Championship final