KINGSTON, Ont. (ISN) – The top-seeded Trinity Western Spartans repeated as CIS men’s volleyball champions thanks to a 19-25, 25-19, 25-17, 30-28 gold medal win over the No. 3 Laval Rouge et Or at Queen’s University’s ARC, on Sunday.
Championship website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/mvball/index
The Spartans, who joined CIS in 1999-2000, now have three Tantramar Trophies in their collection. They previously claimed the banner a year ago on their home court in Langley, B.C., with a 3-0 victory over Brandon, and back in 2006 thanks to a straight set win against Alberta.
The Canada West conference champions end the season with a remarkable 34-2 overall record against CIS competition, including straight-set sweeps of No. 8 Dalhousie in Friday’s CIS quarter-finals and of No. 5 Queen’s in Saturday semis.
Trinity Western’s triumph also extends the Canada West domination of the sport. Schools from the Western conference have now claimed 18 consecutive Tantramar Trophies since Laval was crowned in 1994.
For their part, the RSEQ champion Rouge et Or return home with the silver medal for the second time in four years. They had dropped a 3-0 decision to Alberta in the 2009 title match. To reach today’s final, Laval beat No. 6 Calgary and No. 2 Manitoba, both in four sets.
The Rouge et Or hope for a different result a year from now when they host the 2013 CIS championship in Quebec City.
“We just tried to stay together, love each other and play hard and that’s it. The team prepared for that all season long it’s nothing really extra this time of year. I’m not surprised they came out fast we were expecting it and expecting a lot of emotion,” said Trinity Western head coach Ben Josephson. “We knew they wanted this game and wanted it bad. Excellence happens in all facets of life and these guys are committed to that, they really are true champions.”
Fifth year setter Ben Ball of Abbotsford, B.C. caps off a remarkable career for Trinity Western with Tournament MVP honours just three days after being named CIS player of the year. Ball was spectacular in the final game, recording 39 assists to lead Trinity Western to a team hitting percentage of .400. He also recorded two kills, two service aces, five digs and two blocks to round out his game.
“It feels great; it was a crazy game and a battle throughout the entire game. They came out extremely strong but I think we did a good job of fighting back and things worked out,” said Ball. “Last year it was awesome to win since it was at home and this year it was great since it was my fifth year and after a great season all around we wanted to finish that out.”
Daniel Jansen Van Doorn of Langley, B.C. was named the Trinity Western man of the match after his dominating performance in the middle. He finished the game with seven kills, two service aces, two digs and a game high ten blocks.
Third year middle Jeremie Lortie was named Laval’s player of the match. The Quebec all-star was their most efficient attacker, posting 14 kills on 26 attacks for a hitting percentage of .423. He also recorded three service aces and a dig. Karl De Grandpré of Pierreville, Que., led the Rouge et Or in kills with 18 and was named to the tournament all-star team.
“The guys can be proud of what they have accomplished today and all year long,” said Laval head coach Pascal Clément. “We had a really strong start, but they had a lot of resources. I give them all the credit in winning the championship.”
The Quebec champions got off to a great start in the first set despite CIS player of the year Ben Ball opening the game with a service ace as the Rouge et Or jumped out to an early 8-2 lead over the Spartans who had yet to drop a set in their first two games. Trinity Western went on two three point runs over the course of the set, but it ultimately wasn’t enough to reel in the Rouge et Or who took set one by a 25-19 score.
Steven Marshall of Abbotsford, B.C., led the Spartans comeback in the second set with a five kill performance. Trinity Western managed to open up a four point lead midway through the first half of the set and went into the technical timeout up 16-12. Laval couldn’t close the gap any further as the Spartans captured set two by a 25-19 score to even the game, 1-1.
Daniel Jansen Van Doorn led the Spartans in a third set charge with five blocks to spark a nine point Trinity Western run. The stretch put the set out of doubt with the Spartans up 22-13. Laval finished strong but the gap was too wide as the Spartans clinched the set by a 25-17 scoreline and took a 2-1 lead in the game.
Laval wouldn’t go quietly however, as they opened up the fourth set with a 5-2 lead. Trinity Western rebounded with help from their strong defensive play as they slowly reeled the Rouge et Or in, tying the game at 8-8. The two opponents were at even points five times from then on before the technical timeout. Trinity Western took the lead into the break with a 16-15 edge.
The set ended with more back and forth play as they found themselves tied nine times after the technical timeout. Trinity Western were the first to get an edge as they took a 24-22 lead, but Laval broke the Spartans’ match point twice to prolong the game and tie it up at 24.
From there the teams earned multiple set point opportunities as they each broke one another’s set point opportunities twice. The Spartans ultimately prevailed while up 29-28 though as a serve was Marc Howatson of Victoria couldn’t be handled cleanly by the Rouge et Or and the ace clinched the match for Trinity Western with a 30-28 set score.
NOTES: Rounding out the all-tournament team were TWU’s Steven Marshall and Rudy Verhoeff, Laval’s Karl De Grandpré and Justin Boudreault, Dane Pischke of bronze medallist Manitoba and Joren Zeeman of the host Queen’s Gaels… Chris Hoag of the Calgary Dinos received the R.W. Pugh Fair Play Award… Trinity Western now has a 3-0 record against Laval at the CIS tournament after defeating them in five sets in their 2010 semifinal and in four sets during their 2004 quarter-final.
Kills: Rudy Verhoeff (13), Steven Marshall (12)
Points: Rudy Verhoeff (17.5), Steven Marshall (15.5)
Blocks: Daniel Jansen Van Doorn (10), Rudy Verhoeff (8)
Digs: Steven Marshall (7). Rudy Verhoeff (6)
Service aces: Three players tied with 2
Assists: Ben Ball (39)
Player of the match: Daniel Jansen Van Doorn
Kills: Karl De Grandpré (18), Jérémie Lortie (14)
Points: Karl De Grandpré (21.5), Jérémie Lortie (17)
Blocks: Micaël Girard (2), Frédéric Mondou (2)
Digs: Justin Boudreault (15)
Service aces: Karl De Grandpré (3), Jérémie Lortie (3)
Assists: Justin Boudreault (45)
Player of the match: Jérémie Lortie
Tournament MVP: Ben Ball
R.W. Pugh Fair Play Award: Chris Hoag, Calgary
Ben Ball, Trinity Western
Steven Marshall, Trinity Western
Rudy Verhoeff, Trinity Western
Justin Boudreault, Laval
Karl De Grandpré, Laval
Dane Pischke, Manitoba
Joren Zeeman, Queen’s