SASKATOON (CIS) – With a dominant straight sets (25-19, 25-17, 25-15) performance over Canada West-rival the Trinity Western University Spartans at the Physical Activity Complex in Saskatoon, the University of Alberta Golden Bears were crowned CIS men’s volleyball champions for the second straight season.
It is the eighth time the Golden Bears have hoisted the Tantramar Trophy in history after 24 appearances at the national tournament.
Trinity Western finishes with silver for the second time in six seasons. It was the fourth trip to the tournament’s final since 2010.
Alberta was dominant all weekend winning all three matches at the tournament in straight sets. The Golden Bears allowed their opponents to score 20 or more points just three times in the nine sets over the three days.
“I’m happy and just so proud of the way the guys put this weekend together,” said Alberta 22nd-year head coach Terry Danyluk. “Actually, the last two weekends in a row. Talking with our staff, I feel they took themselves to another level through playoffs and Canada West. To go 9-0 at this tournament is pretty amazing.”
As expected the Canada West rivals, who met in the conference championship final, matched each other point-for-point in the first set. Tied at 16, a Kevin Proudfoot service ace and a Ryan Nickifor successful attack gave Alberta a two-point lead. After a timeout, TWU scored the next point, but Alberta took the ball right back and went on a 6-2 run to win the set 25-19.
Alberta opened the second set with a 9-5 lead. Trinity Western was able to pull the set back within two points but took over with a Ryley Barnes kill scoring the next five points to sit at set point. The Spartans held off Alberta for one play with a Nicholas Del bianco attack that painted the line. But on the next play Taylor Arnett gave the Golden Bears the 25-17 with a kill from the middle.
Sensing a championship win, the Golden Bears didn’t hold back in the third set and quickly grew an 11-4 lead. The Spartans couldn’t recover and Alberta scored five straight points to close the match 25-15.
“I thought we got into a match, it was pretty tight in the first set and they made some really great plays to kind of separate the first set,” said Trinity Western head coach Ben Josephson. “Once they got rolling, you saw how great the Bears team could be. On a night like tonight, full credit to how great the Bears were. They earned that victory. I’m really proud of our guys for getting to this stage and sticking their nose in the fight. It just wasn’t enough tonight.”
CIS MVP Del bianco led the Spartans in the los with 12 kills, while Ryan Sclater added another five. Tyler Koslowsky, Adam Schriemer, Sclater and Blake Sheerhoorn each recorded three digs.
2014 CIS Tournament MVP Barnes led the Golden Bears with 11 kills, while Proudfoot and Nickifor added another 10 each. Barnes, Brett Walsh and Reed May each tallied six digs.
Notes: It was the second time the tournament has been hosted in Saskatoon. The first was in 1980 … The overall 2015 tournament attendance was 10,907 … Bears head coach Terry Danyluk has been part of all eight national titles: one as a player, six as head coach, and one while on leave to complete a graduate degree … the McMaster University Marauders will host the 2016 CIS men’s volleyball championship in Hamilton …
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Photo : Josh Schaefer Photography