CIS consolation #2: Tigers too much for UNB, end V-Reds season
Courtesy of U of Alberta sports information
EDMONTON - The No. 5-seeded Dalhousie Tigers were too much for AUS rival UNB Saturday afternoon dominating the No. 8 Varsity Reds in straight sets (25-11, 25-21, 25-16) in the second consolation semi-final of the 2009 CIS men's volleyball championship, at the University of Alberta's main gym.
The Tigers are making their 30th straight appearance at the national tournament while the V-Reds were making their first trip in 30 years, and experience sure was a big factor on the day.
The duel was a rematch of the best-of-three Atlantic conference final from two weeks ago when Dalhousie prevailed 3-1 and 3-0.
The Tigers, who lost a five-set heartbreaker to No. 4 Brandon Friday in the quarterfinal round, advance to face the No. 6 Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack Sunday at 12 p.m. in the fifth-place match. Thompson Rivers overcame a two-set deficit to beat Dalhousie in last year's CIS bronze-medal game.
UNB ends the national tourney with an 0-2 mark. The V-Reds lost 3-0 to defending champion Alberta on opening day.
CIS first-team all-Canadian and AUS MVP Sander Ratsep led the Dalhousie attack against UNB with 11 kills and six digs. Devon Parkinson chipped in with nine kills, seven digs and four blocks.
UNB's Kyle VanGenne, an AUS first-team all-star, led the V-Reds with 10 kills and two blocks, while Ryley Bolden had six kills and four digs.
Dalhousie's best finish at a national championship was in 1997 when they brought a silver medal back to Halifax. Last year, they upset UBC to advance to the semi-finals, but they then lost to Winnipeg in four sets.
"You want to finish your season on a positive note," said Dan Ota, 10-year head coach of the Tigers. "It's going to be our last match of the year and we want to win and there are a lot of guys that want to play well this weekend. We didn't play well (on Friday) and we don't want that to be our big memory from this weekend."
For UNB, this national championship berth will no doubt go a long ways in resurrecting their program. The experienced gained for head coach Dan McMorran's crew will help develop the program for the future.
UNB finished the season with a 0-8 record against conference rival Dalhousie. Last year, they beat Dalhousie on three occasions. It was a tough tournament for the Varsity Reds who lost in three straight sets to the defending national champion and 2009 tournament favourite Alberta Golden Bears on Friday night, and then lost in three straight to arguably their biggest rivals.
But this experience will only make them stronger.
"This is an experience that the guys will be able to build from," said McMorran. "To be part of a championship and see all the things that are associated with it, is something they'll be able to learn from."
Dalhousie had complete control in the first set leading from start to finish. UNB struggled offensively and the Tigers were able to pick them apart on the defensive end.
The second set was very tight. UNB took their first lead at 15-14 of the game, but Dalhousie went on a 7-3 run to take a 21-18 lead and they carried the momentum and finished the set with a 25-21 win.
After making a nice comeback, Dalhousie carried that momentum in the third set and jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead and they cruised to the third set win.
"In today's match, we just know each other too well," added Ota. "We don't have to spend a lot of time talking about the game plan because this is the eighth time we've played one another. We were able to execute our game plan better than they did. I am sure they are disappointed with finishing their tournament early, but they can hold their heads high. They are a good squad, and I am sure they'll have another chance at this tournament well before another 30 years."
Kills: Sander Ratsep (11), Devon Parkinson (9), Daniel Murray (8)
Blocks: Russ Lawrence (3)
Digs: Devon Parkinson (7)
Assists: Russ Lawrence (26)
Player of the match: Erik Montgomery
Kills: Kyle VanGenne (10), Ryley Boldon (6), John Sheenhan (3)
Blocks: Jacob Kilpatrick (6)
Digs: Tyler Veenhuis (7)
Assists: Greg Halley (18)
Player of the match: Ryley Boldon