Feb 26, 2015
Photo credit Martin Bazyl
TORONTO (CIS) – The second-seeded Alberta Pandas blanked the No. 7 Ottawa Gee-Gees 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-18) in quarter-final action as Day 1 of the 2015 CIS women’s volleyball championship, presented by Canuck Stuff, wrapped up Thursday night (Feb. 26) at U of T’s Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport.
It was the second time the two teams squared off on the national stage. Alberta took their first meeting, 3-2, in semi-final action at the 2013 tournament.
Alberta advances to Saturday’s 4 p.m., championship semifinal and will face the host Toronto Varsity Blues, who defeated the Dalhousie Tigers 3-0 in the third quarter-final of Day 1. The Gee-Gees are set to take on the Tigers in consolation semifinal action Friday at 1:30 p.m.
Third-year Pandas outside hitter Kacey Otto of Calgary led all players, tallying 15 kills, three aces, three blocks and 14 digs on the night. Edmonton native Meg Casault added seven kills, while Mariah Walsh tallied 30 assists and Jessie Niles notched a game-high 15 digs in the win.
“I thought Kacey was outstanding,” said Pandas head coach Laurie Eisler, in her 23rd season as Alberta’s bench boss. “The nature of the kills, it wasn’t just a kill, it was a kill with a statement, and I think it brought everybody’s level up. I thought we showed a lot of poise. That was a tough team, they really came at us hard and I think they had a good game plan against us, and there were times where we could have faltered a bit and we did falter a bit, but we steadied the ship and stuck with it.”
Twin sisters Myriam and Kelsie English led the Gee-Gees with nine kills apiece, with Myriam adding four blocks for a team-high 14 points. Setter Kira Tome recorded 27 assists and 11 digs, with Kelsie English also adding a team-high 11 digs in the loss.
“The things that make us really good weren’t great,” said Gee-Gees head coach Lionel Woods. “Our serving just didn’t seem to push them around and get them to scramble. I thought we got a lot of hands on blocks and played decent transitional defence but we couldn’t push them out of their system. They out-served our passing and we couldn’t do the same. ”
The first set was even from the get-go, tied 10-10 and 20-20. Otto capped off the set with a big kill, 25-23 in favour of the Pandas.
Alberta turned that momentum into a 10-5 lead in the second, but the Gee-Gees were able to bring it within one (21-20) late in the frame. Otto stepped up once again and closed it out 25-21 for the Canada West silver medalists.
Tied 6-6 in the early goings of the third, the Pandas rode a 9-4 streak into the technical time out to take the lead for good. With some final kills from Casault and Otto, Alberta secured the 3-0 victory.
Kills: Kacey Otto (15), Meg Casault (7)
Points: Kacey Otto (21), Meg Casault (8)
Blocks: Kacey Otto (3)
Digs: Jessie Niles (15), Kacey Otto (14)
Service aces: Jessica Stroud (4), Kacey Otto (3)
Player of the match: Kacey Otto
Kills: Myriam English (9), Kelsie English (9)
Points: Myriam English (14), Kelsie English (10)
Blocks: Myriam English (4)
Digs: Kelsie English (11), Kira Tome (11)
Service aces: Kira Tome (1), Kaly Soro (1), Myriam English (1), Alix Durivage (1)
Player of the match: Myriam English
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE & RESULTS
Thursday, February 26
13:00 Quarter-final #1: No. 4 Montreal 3, No. 5 UBC 0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-16)
15:00 Quarter-final #2: No. 1 Trinity Western 3, No. 8 Laval 2 (24-26, 24-26, 25-15, 25-16, 15-8)
18:00 Quarter-final #3: No. 3 Toronto 3, No. 6 Dalhousie 0 (25-10, 25-19, 25-6)
20:00 Quarter-final #4: No. 2 Alberta 3, No. 7 Ottawa 0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-18)