FINAL: 2016 CIS women’s volleyball championship Varsity Blues win first volleyball title in University of Toronto history
BRANDON, Man. (CIS) – The Toronto Varsity Blues made a lot of history with their victory in the final of the CIS women’s volleyball championship on Sunday.
The second-seeded Varsity Blues topped the defending champion Trinity Western Spartans 25-21, 25-18, 25-12 to win the first women’s volleyball title, and medal, in school history.
Caleigh Cruickshank was named the championship’s Most Valuable Player.
“This is the best feeling in the world,” said Cruickshank, who had eight kills in the final and 40 over the course of her three matches. “I’m over the moon. It still hasn’t even 100 per cent sunk in yet. It feels like a dream.”
The title capped a remarkable season for the Varsity Blues, who went 25-0 over the course of the OUA regular season, playoffs and nationals. They’re the first team to go undefeated through conference play and the CIS championship since the UBC Thunderbirds in 2010. Including non-conference play, Toronto had a 33-4 record versus CIS teams.
Toronto also ended a long drought for Ontario at the event. It was the first women’s volleyball championship by an OUA team in 40 years, and the Varsity Blues became only the second Ontario team to win the title, joining the Western Mustangs, who won in 1972, 1975 and 1976.
“It was a huge win. It’s just so exciting to be able to represent our province,” said CIS rookie of the year Alina Dormann. “We worked so hard all this year so it’s just real exciting to be able to represent our program at the U of T and also the OUA.”
Dormann led Toronto with 10 kills and five service aces in the final.
The Spartans started well, taking a 7-4 lead, but the Varsity Blues rallied to tie the score 16-16, then won the next five points to take control of the first set. Toronto got better and better as the match went on and was in total control over the final two sets, clinching the title with an ace by Dormann.
Having lost only four sets in the regular season and playoffs, the Varsity Blues were only two points from being eliminated from contention in the quarter-finals on Friday. They rallied from a 23-19 deficit in the fourth set against the McGill Martlets to win the final two sets and then beat the UBC Okanagan Heat in Saturday’s semifinals after losing the first set.
“I have to give credit to the athletes,” said Toronto head coach Kristine Drakich. “They were very gutsy, very focused, very clear. They believed in what they wanted to accomplish, a national championship.”
Seeded first going into the event, the Spartans were bidding to become the second national volleyball champion from Trinity Western in as many days as the TWU men claimed the CIS title on Saturday in Hamilton, Ont. They were also trying to give the Canada West conference its 10th women’s volleyball crown in a row.
“We came in hunting for gold and we ran into a very good Toronto Blues team,” Spartans head coach Ryan Hofer said.
“They’re on Cloud 9, I know exactly how they’re feeling over there. And now I know what silver feels like and it doesn’t feel as good, that’s for sure.”
Elizabeth Wendel led the Spartans with 13 kills.
This is the third Varsity Blues team to complete a perfect season in recent history, joining the 2000-01 women’s hockey squad and the 1985-86 women’s basketball team.
Cruickshank was joined on the all-star team by her Varsity Blues teammates Tessa Davis and Denise Wooding, Spartans Nikki Cornwall and Wendel, Katie Wuttunee of the Heat and Danielle Brisebois of the Thunderbirds.
Yasmeen Dawoodjee of McGill won the R.W. Pugh Fair Play Award.
Earlier on Sunday, the Heat beat the Thunderbirds for the bronze medal, while the Montreal Carabins defeated the Dalhousie Tigers to finish in fifth place.
Kills: Alina Dormann (10), Anna Feore (9)
Points: Alina Dormann (17) Tessa Davis (12)
Blocks: Madelyn Mandryk, Bojana Radan (0,5)
Digs: Anna Feore (8)
Service aces: Alina Dormann (5)
Player of the match: Denise Wooding
Kills: Elizabeth Wendel (13), Sophie Carpentier (8)
Points: Elizabeth Wendel (14.5), Sophie Carpentier (8.5)
Blocks: Katelyn Devaney (2)
Digs: Brie O’Reilly (8)
Service aces: Elizabeth Wendel (1)
Player of the match: Katelyn Devaney
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE & RESULTS (CENTRAL TIME)
Friday, March 11
12:30 Quarter-final #1: Toronto 3, McGill 2 (18-25, 25-17, 25-27, 25-23, 15-13)
14:30 Quarter-final #2: UBC Okanagan 3, Dalhousie 0 (25-17, 25-10, 25-15)
18:00 Quarter-final #3: Trinity Western 3, Brandon 1 (25-23, 25-15, 23-25, 25-19)
20:00 Quarter-final #4: UBC 3, Montreal 1 (20-25, 25-20, 28-26, 25-20)
Saturday, March 12
12:30 Consolation #1: Dalhousie 3, McGill 1 (25-21, 17-25, 25-20, 20-25, 15-12)
14:30 Consolation #2: Montreal 3, Brandon 0 (25-15, 28-26, 25-20)
18:00 Semifinal #1: Toronto 3, UBC Okanagan 1 (21-25, 26-24, 25-22, 25-21)
20:00 Semifinal #2: Trinity Western 3, UBC 1 (23-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-19)
Sunday, March 13
13:00 5th place: Montreal 3, Dalhousie 0 (25-23, 25-14, 25-19)
15:00 Bronze medal: UBC Okanagan 3, UBC 0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-19)
18:00 Championship final: Toronto 3, Trinity Western 0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-12)
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