Feb 21, 2015

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Windsor 2 York 3 Final Box Score | Recap
OUA Bronze (Final Four @ McMaster)
Source: York Lions

The York University Lions men’s volleyball team completed a thrilling comeback in five sets to defeat the Windsor Lancers and win the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) bronze medal at the Burridge Gymnasium in Hamilton, Ont., on Saturday night (Feb. 21).

The win also qualified the Lions for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championship tournament for the first time since 2005.

Saturday’s OUA semifinal did not start the way the Lions would have hoped, as they struggled to string together points and ended up dropping the first two sets to the Lancers by scores of 25-23 and 25-21.

The Lions finally started to build some momentum early in the third set, taking a 6-3 lead and, ultimately, a 16-11 advantage at the technical timeout thanks to a big ace by Ray Szeto (Sutton, Ont.). They continued to add to the lead throughout the end of the set and got back into the match by taking it 25-20.

The Lions continued the strong play into the start of the fourth set and again led early, forcing Windsor to call a timeout at 11-8 and eventually holding a 16-13 advantage at the technical timeout. The Lancers were never able to catch up, and the Lions evened the match at two sets apiece with a 25-19 fourth-set win.

It was the Lancers who jumped out early in the fifth and deciding set, winning the first three points. The two squads traded mini runs after that, and the Lancers forced a York timeout at 7-4. However, the Lions then won five of the next six points to lead 9-8, and after trading a couple of points Josh Henderson (Scarborough, Ont.) went on a run to push the Lions to within one point of the win at 14-9.

Windsor got two points back to make it 14-11, but on the Lions’ third match point Henderson hit a massive kill that just caught the edge of the back line to complete the remarkable comeback.

Szeto was named the player of the match after finishing with a game-high 24 points on 19 kills, three blocks and two service aces, and he also added four digs. Henderson was also tremendous with 20 points on 18 kills, one block and one service ace.

Nikola Sandic (Etobicoke, Ont.) recorded an impressive 55 assists and also added 3.5 points and four digs on the night. Middle blocker Arthur Swarcz (Toronto) also had a big game with 14 points on 10 kills, three blocks and one service ace.

Windsor’s leading scorer was Gabriel Burlacu with 20 points on 18 kills and two blocks.

The Lions will be heading to Saskatoon next week for the CIS championships. Their first match will be on Thursday, with the opponent and time still to be determined.

UBC 0 Brandon 3 Final Box Score | Recap
Canada West Bronze Medal Match

EDMONTON – Sebastien Steigmeier and Sam Tuivai combined for 31.5 points to lead the Brandon University Bobcats to a 3-0 win (25-23, 25-16 and 25-18) over the UBC Thunderbirds, and the Canada West bronze medal during the conference Final Four third place game on Friday night at the Saville Community Sports Centre.

Brandon, winners of the Canada West trophy in 2013, came out fired up against the Birds following their 3-1 loss to the Trinity Western Spartans in the Canada West semifinal. They rolled to the straight sets win with 25-23, 25-16 and 25-18 scores.

Steigmeier, a resident of Geneva, Switzerland, and the Auckland, New Zealand born Tuivai recorded 14 and 12 kills respectively, as well as 17 and 14.5 points to pace the Bobcats to the bronze medal. Steigmeier also brought up 15 digs, while Tuivai spun one ace in the one-sided victory.

“It’s disappointing being in the bronze medal game for sure, but I’m really pleased how motivated the guys were today, and proud of how well they played,” said Brandon head coach Grant Wilson. “We talked about it last night that not many teams get to end their season with a win or with a medal around their neck. It wasn’t where we wanted to be but winning this medal was everything that we did have today, so I’m really pleased we took advantage of the opportunity.”

The opening set was tight from opening serve to final point, as the two teams were never separated by more than two points throughout the set, and in fact the set was tied five different times, including 17-17. Steigmeier and Tuivai, however, combined for a quartet of Brandon’s final eight points, including the set winner by Tuivai.

In the second set, the Bobcats opened with a 7-2 lead, which deflated UBC, and then used that momentum to claim the bronze medal, winning in the final two sets by a combined 16 points.

The T-Birds were led by 11 kills from Canada West all-star Mac McNicol, while Irvan Brar added six kills in the loss.

Montreal 1 Laval 3 Final Box Score
RSEQ Finale
Waterloo 0 McMaster 3 Final Box Score | Recap
OUA Final (Final Four @ McMaster)
Source: McMaster Marauders

It was to be his last game at the Burridge Gym, and Jori Mantha made sure that it was a memorable one.

Mantha led the Marauders with 16 kills as McMaster put on a stunning performance to cruise past the Waterloo Warriors and win their third consecutive OUA title, and sixth in the past eight years on Saturday. Having already secured a place in the CIS Championship tournament with their semifinal win a night earlier, the Marauders will now enter the national event on a high note.

The entire lineup was exceptional as McMaster swept Waterloo 25-18, 25-20 and 25-21 to claim the Forsyth Trophy yet again. Hitting .323 as a team, the Marauders had three scorers hit double digits, as Stephen Maar and Danny Demyanenko joined Mantha with 10.5 and 10 points respectively.

But the fifth-year senior was the undisputed star of the show, winning the Most Valuable Player of the Match honours after killing 16 of 24 attempts with just a single error (.625). Austin Campion-Smith returned to full form on Saturday, pulling the offfensive strings for 41 assists, and leading McMaster with 10 digs.

The top team in Canada very much looked the part from the opening whistle on Saturday, coming out swinging to put Waterloo on the back foot early. The middle combination of Jordan Dyck and Jordan McConkey was doing all it could to keep Waterloo competitive, but side-out volleyball was not enough given their early deficit, and Waterloo dropped the first set by a seven-point margin.

Much as they had in the opening set, the Marauders began well in the second, and held the lead throughout. Increasingly, the Warriors outside hitters were struggling to contend with McMaster’s blocking, and the duo of Zach Doherty and Aidan Simone were both held under 10 per cent hitting on the night.

Remaining steady on both sides of the ball, and pressing Waterloo from the service line, McMaster comfortably saw out the second set to take a commanding overall lead.

Their backs against the wall, the Warriors saw errors creep into their game in the third set, and even while McMaster’s offence cooled somewhat, Waterloo remained well off the pace. The veteran middle Dyck turned in a fantastic set, but it was not enough to overturn the deficit his team faced, and McMaster ultimately made good on their second match point to lift the Forsyth Trophy yet again.

Trinity Western 1 Alberta 3 Final Box Score | Recap
Canada West Gold Medal Match

EDMONTON – For the second-straight year, the University of Alberta Golden Bears claimed Canada West gold over the Trinity Western University Spartans, this time by virtue of a four-set win win (26-24, 25-20, 25-27, 25-20) to defend their title on Saturday night at the Saville Community Sports Centre.

Alberta, also the defending CIS champions, advance along with Trinity Western to the CIS championship tournament to be played next weekend at the University of Saskatchewan.
Multiple Canada West All-Star Ryley Barnes netted a game-high 22 kills for the conference champions, including crucial kills in the final set to cement the victory. Third-year left side Ryan Nickifor added 11 kills while Final Four tournament MVP Brett Walsh recorded 53 assists, 15 digs, and two aces.

“Brett is still growing as a setter,” said long-time U of A head coach Terry Danyluk, “and he’s pretty fun to watch. He’s capable of quite a bit, and when he packages things together, like he did this weekend, and plays with some spit and vinegar, like he did today, I mean he served well, he defended well, and he had a couple of aces, so you really couldn’t ask for much more. He was good all weekend; he used different guys yesterday and spread the offence out a lot today. He’s a young setter only in his third year, but he’s our captain for a reason and you can really see that he is growing as a volleyball player and as a person.”

Canada West MVP Nick Del Bianco did his part to keep his squad in the match, delivering 15 kills, four aces, and three total blocks, fellow teammate and all-star Ryan Sclater tallied a baker’s dozen in kills, 11 digs, and three total blocks as well. Sophomore setter Adam Schriemer put up 35 assists in the entertaining match-up.

“That was two good teams playing today,” continued Danyluk, “and they were a team we knew would block well, which they did, so we had to do some other things well, which we did. We out-dug them by 15, which is the other side of the coin because I didn’t think we could out-block them but I thought if we could hit smart against them and out-dig them we could win, and that’s what happened.”

Solid defence and digging got the momentum rolling for the home team in the opening set, as Alberta propelled to a 7-3 advantage, before a quick 4-0 run by the road team knotted things up at seven.

Third-year middle Taylor Arnett answered with four kills in a short span to get the Bears back on top but attack errors then gripped the Alberta offence, with a 6-0 run going in favour of Trinity Western to get the Spartans in striking distance of a 1-0 set lead.

Barnes replied with three of his seven kills in the set to shift the momentum once more, with the Bears eventually drawing even at 23.

After a Del Bianco cross-court attempt went wide and a Kevin Proudfoot serve did the same, fourth-year middle John Goranson put a light touch through traffic at the net for set point, and then Alberta claimed the first set on a four-hit error by Trinity Western.

Trading points back and forth to open the second, the Bears got the lead as high as seven off an 8-2 run before Del Bianco’s talents from the service line helped erase the deficit back down to two.
Unfortunately for the Langley, B.C. native, his last attack of the set went long to give Alberta set point before Nickifor put a kill through the block, eluding rookie libero Carter Bergen for the 2-0 set lead.

“Their aggressive hitters got points and so did ours,” commented Danyluk, “but I think our offence had a little more balance to it and I think that was a bit of a difference today too. I thought Brett spread the ball out quite a bit, and sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t, but fortunately for us it worked out.”

Not backing down from the pressure, however, the Spartans poured on the defence in the third set, combining for 10.5 blocks to overwhelm the 43 attacks by Alberta, despite the Bears notching 20 kills.

Up 24-23, Del Bianco put one into the net on the serve to tie things up, Trinity Western then committing another ill-timed four-hit error to put the Bears up by one, but Sclater replied with a kill down the middle to equalize the score at 25.

Barnes then threw a kill wide before Sclater sneaked the ball underneath Canada West All-Rookie Team member Alex McMullin on the block to get the Spartans back in the match.
The two squads then battled hard in the final set, neither team getting an edge until four errors by Trinity helped put the Bears up by four at 20-16.

Sclater and Barnes traded kills but the second by Barnes off the Spartan back row sent shockwaves through a hometown crowd that got even louder with Goranson’s deft two-hand kill at the net getting Alberta to 23-18 on the scoreboard.

Despite an Ian Cooper service error, Barnes kept the electric buzz alive in the spectators by finding some open space at the back of the Trinity court, fourth-year right side Kevin Proudfoot ending the proceedings off Sclater and out of bounds for the euphoric celebration.