LANGLEY, British Columbia – The No. 4 ranked Alberta men’s volleyball team won the Canada West bronze medal with a 3-1 (18-25, 25-23, 30-28, 25-22) win over No. 6 Calgary Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
Led by Taylor Hunt, who had 27 kills in the match – 25 of which came in the final three sets – Alberta rallied from one set down to take three straight sets in a game in which they hit .314 to Calgary’s .250 and had 58 digs to Calgary’s 45.
With the win, the Bears, who were again playing without Canada West First Team All-Star Mitch Irvine, who was out with an injury, returned to the conference podium after falling short last year when they lost to Trinity Western in the bronze medal match. Both Alberta and Calgary will now prepare to play in next weekend’s CIS national championship, which will be hosted by Queen’s Mar. 8-10.
Along with his match-high 27 kills, Hunt also had 13 digs and a service ace while the Bears Jay Olmstead contributed 11 kills and 10 digs and Tristan Aubry had eight kills and five blocks. Setter Jarron Mueller had 53 assists, four kills and three blocks.
For Calgary, Graham Vigrass had 22 kills and three blocks while Allen Meek had 14 kills and six digs and Chris Hoag had 12 kills and four blocks. Setter Jay Blankenau had a match-high 54 assists.
While both teams hit .400 or better in the first set, it was Calgary taking control in the middle stages and cruising to a comfortable seven-point win.
With the score 7-6 for the Dinos, Calgary went on a set-turning 7-1 run, capped a three-man Dinos block, to give the red and white a 14-7 advantage.
Alberta got to within four points three times but with the score 17-13, the Dinos put the clamp on the set as they earned four straight points to open an eight-point lead at 21-13. Calgary rolled from there, winning the set 25-18 after a Bears attack error.
Calgary hit .424, led by Vigrass who had five kills, while Alberta hit .400 with Aubry and Jay Olmstead each contributing three kills.
In the second set, while it was tight throughout, the difference maker was Alberta’s Hunt who unleashed for eight kills in the set to get the Bears back in the match. Although Calgary’s Vigrass responded with seven kills of own, Alberta pulled out the set win with by hitting .406 as a team.
After an Olmstead kill gave Alberta a 20-16 lead, the game’s momentum seemed to be clearly on the Bears side. But not to be undone easily, Calgary earned five of the next seven points to climb to within one point at 22-21.
But after the teams traded points, it was Hunt at it again with his seventh kill of the set to give Alberta a 24-22 edge. And then, after Calgary again closed the gap to one point, in most appropriate fashion, it was Hunt with the set-winning kill, giving Alberta the 25-23 win.
The third set was another one filled with swings but, like the second set, it was the attack of Hunt who bested the Dinos. With nine more kills in the third set, Hunt led Alberta to a 30-28 win, including, once again, notching the winning kill.
Alberta raced out to a 6-2 and forced Calgary into an early timeout.
Out of the timeout, the Dinos started to battle back, getting it to within two points at 12-10. But the Bears managed to maintain at the very least a one-point lead until late.
With the score 20-19 for Alberta, Calgary’s Hoag made a huge dig that resulted in a kill as it landed in the back of the Bears court to tie the set 20-20.
From there it went back and forth as neither team was able to earn control with the game going beyond 25.
The Dinos had four chances at set-point but with the score 28-27 for Calgary, Alberta scored three straight points and Hunt’s kill finished it as the Bears eked out the win.
In the fourth set, with the score 6-6, Alberta went on a 3-0 run, one that included two Hunt kills, to give the Bears a 9-6 lead. After that, the Bears never trailed.
The Dinos got as close as one point at 17-16 but another 3-0 run from the Bears, capped by an Aubry block, gave Alberta a 20-16 lead.
From there, while Calgary did well to keep it close, getting to within two points at 22-20 and 24-22, once again Hunt sealed the deal with a kill to make it 25-22.
Game Notes: Calgary had 9.5 blocks to Alberta’s 9…Calgary had 3 aces to Alberta’s 1.