CIS men's volleyball Sunday roundup: Tigers sweep Varsity Reds in best-of-three series to claim AUS banner
|AUS final - Game 2|
FREDERICTON, N.B. - After winning the first game of the best two-of-three Subway AUS men's volleyball championship Friday night at home, the Tigers once again defeated the defending champion UNB Varsity Reds by a score of 3-1 Sunday to sweep the series 2-0 and reclaim the AUS banner in front of over 700 fans at the Currie Center in Fredericton.
Both teams were even from the get go, as they traded points throughout the entire set. The largest lead of the set was Dalhousie's at 13-10, but UNB would battle back to take their second lead of the set at 14-13.
The Varsity Reds would lead 24-23, but with set point within their reach they gave up a few key points and Dalhousie bounced back to take the opening set 28-26.
In the second set the V-Reds would gain some of their lost momentum, opening up a six-point lead at 11-5, but the Tigers would start to chip away at the lead. Eventually they would tie the set at 22-22.
"I thought we had a down moment in the second set, we were up big in the set and then we had two or three unforced errors that we shouldn't have had and they clawed back in that one," said UNB head coach Dan McMorran
This time UNB would not fall apart and took the set 26-24.
The Varsity Reds momentum would carry into the third set, but midway through the set the Tigers would start to pull away, eventually winning 25-19.
After the third set loss the Varsity Reds came out more flat in the fourth set.
"That's just the way we've played the last couple of weekend's unfortunately," said McMorran. "We play some great ball and then take some points off and when you're riding those kinds of waves it's difficult to generate momentum."
Dalhousie would lead by as much as ten points in the fourth, eventually winning the set 25-20 and the 2012 Subway AUS men's volleyball championship title.
"Losing last year definitely hurt and I think our guys definitely had a greater sense of purpose this season to come back and win a championship," said Dalhousie head coach Dan Ota, named AUS coach of the year earlier this week. "When you lose a championship like we did last year, it really stings and I know all the guys that were on last years team wanted to make this their singular purpose in their season and I'm glad we were able to come back and win a championship."
The Tigers will now represent the conference at the CIS men's volleyball championship being hosted by Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., March 2-4.
"No weak team is at a national championship, so obviously we're facing the realistic possibility that we're going to be facing a number one or number two seed in the first round," said Ota. "In a single match elimination format you just have to come out and play a great game and if you catch another team slightly off their game anything can happen."
Source: UNB Sports Information
|Canada West quarterfinal 2 - Game 3|
CALGARY – The No. 7 Brandon Bobcats successfully staved off 11 match point opportunities, but couldn't stay alive on the 12th as the No. 6 Calgary Dinos qualified for their third straight CIS championship tournament with a 3-1 (25-22, 25-23, 35-37, 25-18) win Sunday afternoon in the Jack Simpson Gym.
The Calgary victory gives them a 2-1 Canada West quarterfinal series win over the Bobcats, sending the Dinos to the Final Four next weekend in Langley, B.C. – and because Canada West gets four berths to the national tournament, the Dinos also earn a spot at the CIS championship in Kingston, Ont.
Very little separated the Dinos and Bobcats throughout the entire season, and the weekend was no exception. Nowhere was that better underscored than in an epic third set, one that Brandon finally won 37-35 after Calgary couldn't convert of any of its nine match point opportunities in the frame. The Dinos were able to mitigate Brandon's momentum heading into the fourth, however, and controlled from start to finish in a 25-18 fourth-set win.
“The character that we showed coming after a 37-35 loss in the third set was what this team is made of,” said Dinos head coach Rod Durrant. “There's a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge there, and they showed it in the fourth. Brandon doesn't give you anything easy, and it's a great opportunity for us to get better. It was a fantastic match for us, and a nice way to head out to the Final Four.”
Volleyball is a game of momentum, and after winning the third on a Sam Tuivai kill the Bobcats seemed to have it all on their side of the floor heading into the fourth set. But from the opening point, the Dinos took command in the fourth, and on their 12th chance overall to put the Bobcats away, they did just that on a kill by left side captain Chris Hoag.
Calgary left side Levi Nutma got the start for the Dinos Sunday and made the most of it, wiping countless kills off the Brandon block to score 18 on the day, leading his team with a 46.9 per cent efficiency.
“Levi's a gamer,” said Durrant. “That's the bottom line. His body isn't getting any younger, but when it's game time Levi wants to play. It showed today – he showed up and played big. And there were a lot of guys that stepped it up today. I'm very proud of how we were able to move forward today.”
Graham Vigrass added 17 kills and eight blocks in his last-ever match in the Jack Simpson Gym, while Hoag and Allen Meek each put up 12.
For the Bobcats, Tuivai was a beast all afternoon and finished with 24 kills on 36 attempts, racking up a match-high 52.8 per cent – an incredible number for a left side hitter. He was all over the floor as the score climbed higher and higher in the third set, recording six kills in the extra-points session of the frame as Brandon, its season on the line, mustered everything it could. Tuivai also led all players on the day with eight digs.
Middle Jonathan Sloane had 15 kills, while Ben glue added 14 and Paul Robidoux 12.
The two teams put on an impressive display of volleyball, with Brandon actually hitting at a slightly more efficient pace on the day at 34.4 per cent compared to Calgary's 33.3. For Durrant, the high-level, quality competition will only help harden his team for the battles ahead.
“It's good volleyball, and Canada West has shown that when you're used to playing good volleyball you can be successful nationally,” said Durrant. “Next weekend, we're going to have to play good volleyball again, and then you go to nationals and you have to play at a high level there too.”
The Dinos join host Trinity Western, Manitoba, and Alberta at the conference tournament next weekend at the Langley Events Centre and will face the hometown Spartans in a conference quarterfinal Friday night.
Queen's University hosts the CIS championship March 2-4 in Kingston, Ont.
MATCH NOTES: Calgary out-blocked the Bobcats by a 14-9 margin on the day … the Dinos managed just one more kill (68) than Brandon (67) … Calgary put up seven service aces against eight errors in the match, while the Bobcats had a 10-2 error-to-ace ratio …
Source: Calgary Sports Info