by Ben Matchett
March 1, 2014, CALGARY (ISN) – The Alberta Golden Bears are back on top of the CIS men’s volleyball world for the first time since 2009 after a straight-sets victory over the Western Mustangs (25-19, 25-17, 25-16) Saturday night at the University of Calgary’s Jack Simpson Gym.
CHAMPIONSHIP WEBSITE: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/mvball/index
It is the seventh national championship in school history for the Golden Bears, and the first since back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009 for the Golden Bears, who got hot at the right time after a 15-7 regular season. After sweeping Calgary in a best-of-three Canada West quarterfinal, the Bears didn’t lose a set at the conference Final Four and upended top-seeded Trinity Western to capture the conference banner. With the top seed at the national tournament, Alberta got through No. 8 Montreal in the quarterfinal, then knocked off defending national champion Laval in Friday semi-final.
“Resiliency,” said Golden Bears player of the match Jay Olmstead, emotional and with a gold medal around his neck following his final CIS match. “We went through so much, so many losses and so many problems and we just kept fighting and fighting and fixing and fixing and we just peaked at the right time. It’s amazing.
“This is what I wanted since my first year and to get it in my last game…it’s unexplainable.”
The Bears were surgical in their offence, tenacious with their defence, and fed off the energy of the pro-Alberta crowd in Calgary to dispatch the Mustangs in a match that took less than 75 minutes to play. The Green and Gold hit better than 40 per cent on the day, scoring 42 kills against just eight errors in the three sets and dominating play on the net with nine team blocks against just two for Western, forcing the Mustangs into 10 attack errors in the second set alone.
Olmstead, the fifth-year senior from Edmonton, picked up nine of those kills for Alberta, while tournament MVP Tyley Barnes led the way with a dozen to go with eight digs. Matt McCreary had an efficient day with five kills on six swings, while fellow middle John Goranson also picked up five kills as the Bears kept the Mustangs defence off-balance and routinely went up against a single blocker. Kevin Proudfoot recorded eight kills, adding a trio of service aces – a feat matched by Brett Walsh.
The Cinderella run came to an end for Western after a pair of emotional victories: a five-setter over Trinity Western in the quarterfinal and a four-set upset of OUA champion McMaster in the semi-final. Justin Scapinello was the Mustangs’ player of the match after a 15-kill, five-dig performance, while Garrett May picked up 12 kills in a losing cause for Western.
Barnes was joined on the tournament all-star team by teammate Walsh, the Golden Bears’ setter. May and Phil James were selected to the all-tournament team from Western, joined by McMaster’s Dany Demyanenko, Laval’s Olivier Jannini, and Trinity Western’s Nicholas Del Bianco. Lucas Van Berkel from Trinity Western received the R.W. Pugh Fair Play Award.
Alberta’s win brings the Tantramar Trophy back to Canada West after a one-year absence, with schools now competing in the conference having captured the CIS title in 19 of the past 20 years. Since the last time an Ontario-based school won the trophy – Ottawa in 1968 – Western Canadian schools have captured 40 national titles, with the other six going to Quebec.
NOTES: It was the sixth time the tournament has been hosted in Calgary … Alberta also won the tournament in the Jack Simpson Gym back in 1997 … Bears head coach Terry Danyluk has been part of all seven national titles: one as a player, five as head coach, and one while on leave to complete a graduate degree … the silver medal ties Western’s best-ever finish at the CIS championship after previously losing the final to Winnipeg in both 1969 and 1971 … the University of Saskatchewan will host the 2015 CIS men’s volleyball championship in Saskatoon …
Kills: Ryley Barnes (12), Jay Olmstead (9), Kevin Proudfoot (8)
Points: Kevin Proudfoot (12.5), Ryley Barnes (12), Jay Olmstead (10)
Blocks: Brett Walsh, Josh Goranson (4), Matt McCreary, Kevin Proudfoot (2)
Digs: Ryley Barnes (8), Reed May, Kevin Proudfoot (5)
Service aces: Brett Walsh, Kevin Proudfoot (3)
Player of the match: Jay Olmstead
Kills: Justin Scapinello (15), Garrett May (12)
Points: Justin Scapinello (15), Garrett May (12)Blocks: Sean McKay (2), Luke Sim, Phil James (1)
Digs: Garrett May, Matt Silver (7), Justin Scapinello (5)
Service aces: Luke Sim, Sean McKay (1)
Player of the match: Justin Scapinello
Tournament MVP: Ryley Barnes, Alberta
R.W. Pugh Fair Play Award: Lucas Van Berkel, Trinity Western
Ryley Barnes, Alberta
Nicholas Del Bianco, Trinity Western
Dany Demyanenko, McMaster
Phil James, Western
Olivier Jannini, Laval
Garrett May, Western
Brett Walsh, Alberta
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (all times MOUNTAIN TIME)
Thursday, February 27
- 12:30 Quarter-final #1: Laval 3, Dalhousie 0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-22)
- 14:30 Quarter-final #2: Alberta 3, Montreal 0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-12)
- 18:00 Quarter-final #3: Western 3, Trinity Western 2 (25-21, 22-25, 19-25, 27-25, 15-12)
- 20:00 Quarter-final #4: McMaster 3, Calgary 1 (24-26, 25-21, 25-17, 25-22)
Friday, February 28
- 12:30 Consolation #1: Dalhousie 3, Montreal 2 (25-17, 27-29, 16-25, 25-23, 15-13)
- 14:30 Consolation #2: Trinity Western 3, Calgary 1 (19-25, 26-24, 25-16, 25-22)
- 18:00 Semifinal #1: Alberta 3, Laval 1 (25-19, 23-25, 25-23, 25-23)
- 20:00 Semifinal #2: Western 3, McMaster 1 (25-23, 17-25, 30-28, 25-20)
Saturday, March 1
- 13:00 Fifth-place: Trinity Western 3, Dalhousie 1 (22-25, 25-18, 25-12, 25-15)
- 15:00 Bronze medal: McMaster 3, Laval 0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-18)
- 18:00 Gold medal: Alberta 3, Western 0 (25-19, 25-17, 25-16)