Behind a dynamite performance from Chilean national team player Vicente Ignacio Parraguirre Villalobos, the Laval Rouge et Or moved on to the fifth-place game at the U SPORTS FOG Men’s Volleyball Championship with a straight-sets win over Waterloo, Saturday at the Saville Community Sports Centre.
Villalobos loomed large from everywhere, raining down 17 kills in the 3-0 victory (25-22, 25-19, 25-17) that was over in just an hour and 21 minutes at the Saville Centre.
“Vicente – the guy we know throughout the year – he deserved to play well,” said Laval head coach Pascal Clement. “He had a great season and yesterday was not a great day for him. He (redeemed himself) with his performance today.”
Waterloo seemingly had no answer for the 6-foot-4 third-year power hitter from Santiago, Chile as he fired at a .414 rate of efficiency, up from -0.18 in Friday’s quarter-final loss to McMaster.
While Villalobos understandably won player of the match for Laval, Clement pointed to the play of backup setter Frederic Bolduc as especially key for the Rouge et Or.
Frederic Bolduc recorded 29 assists and kept the Laval attack moving all match.
Waterloo, which lost 3-0 to top-ranked Trinity Western in Friday’s opening quarter-final, was playing from behind the entire match.
“We didn’t play that well today,” said Warriors head coach Chris Lawson. “Laval was much more organized, prepared to battle, which is impressive after the five-set battle they had yesterday.
“It looked like we were waiting for something good to happen. We almost found a way to steal that first set, but they were the better team today and they deserved to win.”
After a slow start, keyed by serve-receive struggles, the Warriors rallied off a 13-5 run in the middle of set one to tie the game at 21. But Laval called a timeout and rushed to the finish, ending it when Waterloo setter Nikola Dimitrijevic stepped over the line.
Waterloo got off on the wrong foot early in the second set when Aidan Simone was shown a yellow card for excessively complaining over a reaching penalty call. The Warriors seemed unsettled after that, got out of system and Laval gained a 5-1 lead that quickly grew to 10-4. Waterloo never could catch up from there and the set ended in the Rouge et Or’s favour when Kevin Lebreux served one into the net.
Continuing their theme of strong starts, Laval jumped out to a 4-0 lead in Set 3 and never trailed, gaining points late in the match when Waterloo’s serve went south. Fittingly, the match ended when Warriors’ Matthew Mawdsley recrorded Waterloo’s 18th service error of the match.
“We’re still trying to figure out a way to play our best volleyball here and not play our best volleyball before we get here,” said Lawson, whose team went 9-8 through the OUA regular season and lost to McMaster in the conference championship match.
Waterloo actually took a step back from their previous two trips to nationals when they lost twice in the fifth-place game (both in five sets). The Warriors were led on Saturday by Braden Cok’s 11 kills, while Jordan McConkey produced 10 off of a ridiculous .769 hitting percentage. Dimitrijevic had a game-high 32 assists.
Laval now moves on to meet the winner of Manitoba and UNB, a game in progress, in Sunday’s fifth-place match, scheduled for 12:00 p.m. MST.