EDMONTON (ISN) – The 2012-13 Canada West volleyball schedule takes on a new look, with a 22-match schedule and an even dozen teams that will allow all teams to play each weekend now that Calgary-based Mount Royal University has been added to the mix.
Manitoba is at Winnipeg on October 25th to open the new season.
The two-time defending CIS champion Trinity Western Spartans open defence of their title with a home-and-home against the UBC Thunderbirds on Oct. 26-27, first at War Memorial Gym in Vancouver and then back at Langley Events Centre where there will be a new banner on display.
Mount Royal, which starts play with a home-and-home of its own vs. city rival Calgary, arrives in Canada West after claiming the bronze medal at Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Nationals in March.
The Manitoba Bisons battled TWU for first place all season in 2011-12, pushed the eventual champs to five sets in the conference final and made the podium at Nationals, claiming a bronze medal. The two powerhouse schools will go head-to-head January 18-19 at the LEC in Langley.
UBC has proven unstoppable at Nationals for five straight years and remain the team to beat until someone can knock them off their lofty perch atop CIS women’s volleyball. The Thunderbirds open the 2012-13 season against Trinity Western on Oct. 26-27, meaning both the men’s and women’s CIS national championship teams play in the same gym on opening weekend.
MRU earned a silver medal in 2012, making all the way to the CCAA national final. The Cougars and Dinos meet for a pair of matches in what will be a strong test for the league’s newest arrival.
The Alberta Pandas surged at the end of last season, rising up to defeat UBC in a classic conference final, earning a berth at Nationals and again taking UBC to five amazing sets in the gold medal match. Last year’s CIS gold and silver medalists square off November 2-3 in Vancouver. The Pandas also have a pivotal road series with Trinity Western to close the regular season The Spartans were 2012 Canada West bronze medalists and went 2-1 at Nationals to finish fifth.
The playoffs feature the top seven in both men’s and women’s play at the end of the 22-match regular season schedule on February 9th. While the top school on each side of the ledger receives a bye to the conference Final Four as host of the event, the remaining six play a best-of-three elimination format to determine the other finalists, Feb. 15-17. The Final Four semis go Feb. 22nd and the medal matches on Feb. 23rd.
Sherbrooke is the site for this year’s eight-team women’s volleyball Nationals, where UBC hopes to be in defence of its current five-year run as champions. The men’s event is slated for one week later, March 1-3 at Université Laval.
Complete, detailed broadcast schedules will become available as the season approaches.