Feb 26, 2015
Photo credit Josh Schaefer Photography
SASKATOON (CIS) – The defending CIS men’s volleyball champion University of Alberta Golden Bears are guaranteed to play for a medal once again after dispatching the Ontario silver-medalist University of Waterloo Warriors in straight sets (25-14, 25-12, 25-22) Thursday afternoon to open the 2015 CIS championship.
The Canada West champions will face the Atlantic champion Dalhousie Tigers in the first of two semifinal matches Friday night in the University of Saskatchewan Physical Activity Complex, with the first set set for 6 p.m. (CST).
Alberta’s experience on the national stage showed in the first two sets of the match.
“I thought our guys really prepared well and I thought we did a really good job at doing the things we talked about doing coming in,” said 22nd-year Alberta head coach Terry Danyluk. “I was just proud of the way the guys prepared and performed. Hopefully, we continue to prepare well and playing well and at this level at this championship is all I can ask for.”
Tied at two, the Golden Bears went on a seven point run courtesy of serves by Alberta player of the match Taylor Arnett for a 9-2 lead. Waterloo couldn’t seem to recover in the set losing 25-14.
The Golden Bears broke away in the middle of the second set to stop any momentum the Warriors had gathered from keeping pace to begin the game. At 7-6 after a Jordan McConkey kill, Alberta’s Arnett turned the ball back to the Bears. From that point, Alberta took over and didn’t let Waterloo score more than one point at a time. The Warriors scored just six more in the set. Alberta went on a four-point run including an ace by Brett Walsh for the 25-12 win.
Down 11-6 in the third set, any nerves Waterloo seemed to be fighting early on the national stage seemed to go away. An Alberta ball handling error, started a small run for the Warriors. Waterloo went on a 5-3 point run with two kills by Braden Cok. Alberta still kept a five-point lead and was the first to the technical timeout. At 21-15, Waterloo found a stride and closed the set on a 7-4 run including three straight blocks to pull to 21-18. A Waterloo block by Jordan Dyck and Gibson Graham held the Golden Bears at match point, but on the next ball Ryan Nickifor ended the match 25-22.
Waterloo head coach Chris Lawson thought nerves got the better of his young team.
“I think we really came out tight,” said Lawson. “I think going into the tournament the guys were pretty convinced we would play Dalhousie. They were surprised to be playing the defending champions and it got in their heads. If that had been best of nine, we would’ve been better by fourth set. Unfortunately, we didn’t come out with our best.”
Waterloo will drop to the consolation semifinal to face the York Lions, who lost in five sets to Dalhousie in the first quarter-final at 1 p.m. (CST). It will be a rematch of the OUA semifinal.
Kills: Aaron Wiersma (6), Aidan Simone, Braden Cok (5)
Points: Aaron Wiersma (7.5)
Blocks: Jordan Dyck, Jordan McConkey (4)
Digs: Erich Woolley (8)
Service aces: Jordan Dyck (1)
Player of the match: Erich Woolley
Kills: Ryan Nickifor (11), Ryley Barnes, Kevin Proudfood (9)
Points: Ryley Barnes, Ryan Nickifor (11.5)
Blocks: Taylor Arnett (5)
Digs: Brett Walsh (8)
Service aces: Ryley Barnes, Taylor Arnett, Brett Walsh (1)
Player of the match: Taylor Arnett
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE & RESULTS (all times CENTRAL TIME)
Thursday, February 26
13:00 Quarter-final #1: Dalhousie 3, York 2 (25-23, 25-19, 25-27, 16-25, 15-13)
15:00 Quarter-final #2: Alberta 3, Waterloo 0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-22)
18:00 Quarter-final #3: No. 5 Trinity Western vs. No. 4 Laval (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
20:00 Quarter-final #4: No 8 Saskatchewan vs. No. 1 McMaster (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
Friday, February 27
13:00 Consolation #1: No. 7 York vs. No. 6 Waterloo (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
15:00 Consolation #2: Loser QF #3 vs. Loser QF #4 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
18:00 Semifinal #1: No. 3 Alberta vs. No. 2 Dalhousie (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
20:00 Semifinal #2: Winner QF #3 vs. Winner QF #4 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)