Laval Advances to Men’s Volleyball Semis

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KINGSTON, Ont. (ISN) – The third-seeded Laval Rouge et Or got off to a slow start on Friday afternoon in their CIS men’s volleyball championship quarter-final against the No. 6 Calgary Dinos, but a strong performance from RSEQ MVP Karl De Grandpré earned the Quebec champions a four-set victory to open the tournament in the Main Gym of the Queen’s University ARC.

Championship website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/mvball/index

De Grandpré, a four-time All-Canadian from Pierreville, Que., earned Laval player-of-the-game honours after he led the reigning seven-time RSEQ champs past the Canada West fourth-place finishers 23-25, 25-19, 25-22 and 25-15.

With the win, the Rouge et Or avenged a five-set loss to Calgary in last year’s CIS bronze medal game and, more importantly, advanced to Saturday’s first semifinal at 6 p.m. Eastern where they will take on either No. 2 Manitoba or No. 7 Western.

De Grandpré led all players on the court with 22 kills on 48 attacks and also chipped in on the defensive side of the ball with eight digs.

Calgary moves to the consolation side and will return to the court Saturday at 1 p.m. against the losers of the Manitoba-Western quarter-final.

Dinos player of the game Graham Vigrass of Calgary had a team-high 17 kills.

“We are really happy about the result. We knew it would be a tough match even though we beat them in January in a tournament in Saskatoon. It was a completely different game. Our watchword was to manage the game well,” said Laval head coach Pascal Clément. “We had a good preparation, with a lot of video watching, but we didn’t want to overload the players with information. At this stage, we want them to express with their talent.”

Calgary head coach Rod Durrant acknowledged the Laval second set service game as a key to the Rouge et Or’s victory.

“The second set they started to serve a little more aggressively and we weren’t able to serve receive as well. In the fourth set we were just out of gas and they had so much confidence.”

Calgary came out strong in the first frame as they controlled the play to open the game. They forced the Rouge et Or to call a timeout early after jumping out to a 10-7 lead in large part thanks to strong attacking from Allen Meek of Sherwood Park, Alta.

Laval battled back after the timeout as they narrowed the gap to 16-15 at the technical timeout, and took a 20-19 lead before the end of the set, but they couldn’t close out the frame as Calgary won 25-23.

The second set saw Laval find their rhythm on the attack as they took a 9-5 lead, forcing Calgary to take a timeout. In a reverse of the first set, Calgary narrowed the lead after their timeout and went into the technical timeout trailing Laval by a 16-13 margin.

The Rouge et Or were strong out of the technical timeout as they went on a 9-3 run to go up 22-16. The teams traded points to end the set as Laval prevailed 25-19 score.

Calgary and Laval matched each other point for point to begin the third stanza before the Dinos moved out to a 7-4 edge. The Rouge et Or regrouped after a timeout with a 12-7 run to take a two point lead into the technical timeout. They maintained the gap for the rest of the set as they took the third by a 25-22 margin.

The Rouge et Or were quick out of the gate in the fourth set as they forced Calgary to call a timeout trailing 5-1. Laval held Calgary at bay for the duration of the set however as the Dinos could only narrow the gap to five points, down 16-11 at the technical timeout.

It was all Rouge et Or after the break, as they went on a 4-1 run to open up a 20-12 lead. They closed out the game with strong serving, capturing the set by a 25-15 margin and defeating the Dinos in four sets.

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