The Sport Information Resource Centre
The Sport Information Resource Centre

U SPORTS – TORONTO (U SPORTS) – The Trinity Western Spartans head to Edmonton as the favourites to defend their U SPORTS Men’s Volleyball title, while the Alberta Pandas hope to end a decade long drought for the women’s national banner in Toronto

CHAMPIONSHIP WEBSITES:
Men’s Volleyball:
http://en.usports.ca/championships/mvball/index
Women’s Volleyball: http://en.usports.ca/championships/wvball/index

The Alberta Golden Bears host the 2017 U SPORTS FOG Men’s Volleyball Championship for the first time since 2009 this week, and the Ryerson Rams welcome the best in the nation to the 2017 U SPORTS Women’s Volleyball Championship Presented By Jason Rinaldi for the first time in school history.

The volleyball tournaments both get underway Friday – from the Saville Community Sports Centre and the Mattamy Athletic Centre – and conclude Sunday, with the women’s final at 4 p.m. ET and the men’s championship at 6 p.m. MT (8 p.m. ET)

All games from both competitions will be webcast on USPORTS.LIVE.

Following are previews of each tournament. 

2017 U SPORTS FOG Men’s Volleyball Championship
(Saville Community Sports Centre, University of Alberta)

In search of their fifth Tantramar Trophy overall and fourth in the last seven seasons, the No.1 Spartans (Canada West champions) will be joined in Edmonton by the No.2 Manitoba Bisons (Canada West finalists), No.3 UBC Thunderbirds (Canada West bronze medalists), No.4 Laval Rouge et Or (RSEQ champions), No.5 McMaster Marauders (OUA champions), No.6 UNB Varsity Reds (AUS Champions), No.7 Alberta Golden Bears (Canada West 4th place/hosts) and No.8 Waterloo Warriors (OUA finalists).

Five of the eight teams have their name etched on this week’s prize, led by Manitoba (10), Alberta (8), followed by Trinity Western (4), Laval (4), and UBC (3).

Canada West representatives 

No.1 Trinity Western Spartans (Canada West champions)
National titles:
2006, 2011, 2012, 2015
2016 result: Gold

Statistical leaders
Kills per set:
Ryan Sclater (4.29)
Blocks per set: Aaron Boettcher (1.21)
Assists per set: Adam Schriemer (10.28)
Digs per set: Carter Bergen (1.98)

No.2 Manitoba Bisons (Canada West finalists)
National titles:
1978, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1991, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2003
Last appearance: 2012

Statistical leaders
Kills per set:
Devren Dear (3.96)
Blocks per set: Ken Rooney (1.01)
Assists per set: Luke Herr (9.88)
Digs per set: Kevin Falconer (1.65)

No.3 UBC Thunderbirds (Canada West bronze medalists)
National titles:
1967, 1976, 1983
Last appearance: 2008

Statistical leaders
Kills per set:
Irvan Brar (3.27)
Blocks per set: Joel Regehr (0.88)
Assists per set: Byron Keturakis (9.46)
Digs per set: Tyson Smith (1.97)

No.7 Alberta Golden Bears (Canada West 4th place/ Hosts)
National titles:
1981, 1997, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2014, 2015
2016 result: Bronze

Statistical leaders
Kills per set:
Ryan Nickifor (3.94)
Blocks per set: Taylor Arnett (1.01)
Assists per set: Brett Walsh (10.48)
Digs per set: Reed May (1.87)

The defending U SPORTS champion Spartans (21-3 regular season) earned No.1 status by knocking off Manitoba (21-3) in a five-set thriller on the Bisons’ home court, earning the team’s second consecutive Canada West title and fourth overall. The two teams occupied the No.1 ranking in 12 of 16 coaches’ polls this season. Trinity Western had previously defeated Alberta in the semifinal in another hard-fought 3-2 victory, with the Golden Bears going on to lose the bronze medal match to UBC in three straight sets. 

“This past weekend had a lot of emotion and a lot of intensity and I think we learned a lot about ourselves as a team,” said Trinity Western head coach Ben Josephson. “We knew we were talented, but we weren’t sure how tough this team was going to be because most of the season was pretty smooth and we weren’t really pushed a lot. But we really got pushed this weekend and I was very pleased to see how tough this group is and how resilient they are under pressure and how much depth we have. So I think we are ready for this tournament.” 

“It’s been a great season as we continue to take steps forward,” said Manitoba head coach Garth Pischke. “We have one more step to go and that is nationals. (We are looking forward to the challenge!”

“This has been an incredible season of learning of growth for our team,” said UBC head coach Kerry MacDonald. “We have played more five-set matches than any other Canada West Team and I really feel that has helped us to refine our processes. For nationals, we will simply be looking to take this approach to the first match in what will surely be a battle against a strong UNB team.”

“This season has been another incredible year of competition in a very competitive and demanding conference,” said Alberta head coach Terry Danyluk. “It’s an honour to compete at any time, to have the chance to play, and to challenge yourselves against the best in a nation every weekend. We are excited to prepare and to represent Canada West and the University of Alberta by hosting the 2017 U SPORTS FOG Men’s Volleyball Championship here in Edmonton.” 

RSEQ representative

Laval Rouge et Or (RSEQ)
National titles:
1990, 1992, 1994, 2013
2016 result: 5th

Statistical leaders
Kills per set:
Vicente Ignacio Parraguirre Villalobos (5.55)
Blocks per set: Hugo Léger (0.95)
Assists per set: Ethan Ellison (9.64)
Digs per set: Vincent Thibault-Bernier (3.55)

Laval (15-2) was once again the class of Quebec this season, continuing their dozen-year run atop the RSEQ with a 3-0 straight sets victory over Montreal in Game 3 of the conference championship. The win game after a pair of 3-2 wins over the Carabins, who pushed the Rouge et or to the limit.
“It’s another participation at the U SPORTS Championship for us, against a high-quality program, which is surely going to give a great battle,” said Laval head coach Pascal Clément of the impending match against McMaster. “The Marauders are well-coached with many all-star players, so it will likely going to be a big challenge. We had to work hard against Montreal to obtain our ticket to the nationals, and this adversity that we encountered allowed us to have a preview of what’s awaiting us in Edmonton.”

OUA representatives

McMaster Marauders (OUA champions)
2016 result:
Silver

Statistical leaders
Kills per set:
Brandon Koppers (3.08)
Blocks per set: Danny Demyanenko (0.98)
Assists per set: Andrew Kocur (7.61)
Digs per set: Andrew Richards (2.09)

Waterloo Warriors (OUA finalists)
2016 result:
Lost consolation semifinal

Statistical leaders
Kills per set:
Braden Cok (3.41)
Blocks per set: Jordan McConkey (1.02)
Assists per set: Nikola Dimitrijevic (8.98)
Digs per set: Aidan Simone (1.61)

It was business as usual for McMaster (17-0), who captured a fifth straight OUA Championship with a 3-0 triumph over Waterloo (9-8) on its home floor. The Marauders rolled through the competition en route to their eighth title in the last decade, with a trio of straight-set victories, including wins over Queen’s in the quarter-finals and Ryerson in the semis. The Warriors took the OUA silver following the loss, after triumphs against York and Guelph.
 
“I like where our team is at right now,” McMaster head coach Dave Preston. “I like the way we’re playing and I like our style and attention to detail. I like how we’re playing when we have a lead and how we’re playing when we don’t.
 
“We’ve got some pieces in our bullpen that we’ve either chosen or not had to use yet. We’ve got depth in all of the spots that we want our depth in, and we worked hard at putting that depth in place.”

“I’m very proud of the way our guys have battled and stepped up in the postseason,” said Waterloo head coach Shayne White. “We experienced some growing pains throughout the regular season with a mix of veterans and rookies but we have come together as a group at the right time and are playing some great volleyball heading into Edmonton.  It’s important to our program and our growth to keep getting to Nationals and see the best teams compete at the highest levels. We need these comparisons to understand the standards of excellence for our next maturity.  We believe we are getting closer every year.”

AUS representative

UNB Varsity Reds (AUS Champions)
2016 result:
6th

Statistical leaders
Kills per set:
Eivind Andersen (3.63)
Blocks per set: Brad Stewart (0.83)
Assists per set: Kent Doucette (6.26)
Digs per set: Eivind Andersen (2.29)

UNB (11-6) outscored Dalhousie six sets to one in the AUS Championship series, clinching its second straight conference banner with a 3-1 win on Saturday. With the victory, the Varsity Reds avenged a poor season series against the Tigers, after losing three of four head-to-head matches this season.

 “This will be our first back-to-back appearance at these championships since 1979,” UNB head coach Dan McMorran. “We are hoping we can continue the momentum we’ve built up in the second half, as we know we’ll have to be at our best throughout the weekend.” 

SCHEDULE & RESULTS (All times MT)

Thursday, March 16
8:00 a.m. 2017 U SPORTS Men’s Volleyball All-Canadian Awards
 

Friday, March 17
1:00 p.m. Quarter-final #1: No.1 Trinity Western vs. No. 8 Waterloo (USPORTS.LIVE)
2:30 p.m. Quarter-final #2: No.4 Laval vs. No.5 McMaster (USPORTS.LIVE)
6:30 p.m. Quarter-final #3: No.2 Manitoba vs. No. 7 Alberta (USPORTS.LIVE)
8:00 p.m. Quarter-final #4: No.3 UBC vs No.6 UNB (USPORTS.LIVE)

Saturday, March 18
1:00 p.m. Consolation #1: Loser QF #1 vs. Loser QF #2 (USPORTS.LIVE)
2:30 p.m. Consolation #2: Loser QF #3 vs. Loser QF #4 (USPORTS.LIVE)
6:30 p.m. Semifinal #1: Winner QF #3 vs. Winner QF #4 (USPORTS.LIVE)
8:00 p.m. Semifinal #2: Winner QF #1 vs. Winner QF #2 (USPORTS.LIVE)

Sunday, March 19
12:00 p.m. 5th place (USPORTS.LIVE)
3:00 p.m. Bronze medal (USPORTS.LIVE)
6:00 p.m. Championship final (USPORTS.LIVE)

2017 U SPORTS Women’s Volleyball Championship
(Mattamy Athletic Centre, Ryerson University)

Rounding out the draw for the Women’s Volleyball Championship, the No.1 Pandas (Canada West champions) will be joined in Toronto by the No. 2 McMaster Marauders (OUA champions), No.3 UBC Thunderbirds (Canada West finalists), No.4 Montreal Carabins (RSEQ Champions), No.5 Dalhousie Tigers (AUS Champions), No.6 Western Mustangs (OUA finalists), No.7 Trinity Western Spartans (Canada West bronze medalists), and No.8 Ryerson Rams (OUA 4th place/hosts).

More than half of the contending teams have previously captured the national banner, including UBC (10), Alberta (7) and Western (3). Dalhousie and Trinity Western round out the list with one championship each.

Canada West representatives 

No.1 Alberta Pandas (Canada West champions)
National titles: 1995-2000, 2007
Last appearance: 2015
Statistical leaders
Kills per set:
Meg Casault (3.94)
Blocks per set: Vanessa Jarman (1.00)
Assists per set: Mariah Walsh (10.07)
Digs per set: Eryn Orysiuk (3.56)

No.3 UBC Thunderbirds (Canada West finalists)
National titles:
1973, 1974, 1977, 1978, 2008-2013
2016 result: 4th

Statistical leaders
Kills per set:
Danielle Brisebois (3.86)
Blocks per set: Ciara Hanly (1.22)
Assists per set: Alessandra Gentile (7.30)
Digs per set: Juliana Kaufmanis (2.04)

No.7 Trinity Western Spartans (Canada West bronze medalists)
National titles:
2015
2016 result: Silver

Statistical leaders
Kills per set:
Sophie Carpentier (4.22)
Blocks per set: Ashtyn McKenzie (1.08)
Assists per set: Nikki Cornwall (10.59)
Digs per set: Rachel Flink (2.46)

The Pandas (22-2 regular season) were tabbed as the team to beat after earning the school’s 11th conference gold medal and first since 2012, via a 3-1 victory on home court over UBC on Saturday. The Thunderbirds (20-4) advanced to the final after disposing of Trinity Western (21-3) by a 3-1 score at the Final Four, with the Spartans rebounding with a straight-sets win over UBC Okanagan to earn the bronze.

“We’re pleased with the progress we’ve made as a team this season and very proud to represent Canada West as conference champions,” said Alberta head coach Laurie Eisler. “The field is very strong at nationals this year and we are really staying focused on what is ahead of us, which is a very talented and well-coached Ryerson team.  We expect that they will compete hard supported by their fan base and it should be a great environment to start off the U SPORTS Championship.”

“Our team had an excellent season especially in the second half,” said UBC head coach Doug Reimer. “Having Juliana Kaufmanis return from her academic term in New Zealand was a key component, along with the development of our group.  “We are a fairly balanced team with significant depth and experience that should allow us to compete at a higher level than we have for the past couple of years.”
“This group of girls has put in the time and the work and I feel they are really deserving to be at the dance,” said Trinity Western head coach Ryan Hofer. “I have a strong group of girls that have been in the national final each of the last two years and I believe that they know what it takes to get there and they know what’s needed in terms of the discipline, the commitment and the competitiveness. I know they want a chance to be in that final game.

“Statistically, this is probably the most efficient team I’ve coached. But I know the bar has been raised all around the country, so I know that we’re going to be in the mix to win with a bunch of good teams this year.”

OUA representatives

No.3 McMaster Marauders (OUA)
Last appearance:
2014

Statistical leaders

Kills per set: Joanna Jedrzejewska (3.02)
Blocks per set: Maicee Sorensen (0.64)
Assists per set: Caitlin Genovy (8.82)
Digs per set: Carly Heath (4.80)

No.6 Western Mustangs (OUA)
National titles:
1972, 1975, 1976
Last appearance: 2011

Statistical leaders
Kills per set:
Kelsey Veltman (3.81)
Blocks per set: Kelsey Veltman (1.35)
Assists per set: Kat Tsiofas (8.60)
Digs per set: Courtney Sestric (2.94)

No. 8 Ryerson Rams (OUA 4th place, hosts)
Last appearance:
2002

Statistical leaders
Kills per set:
Veronica Livingston (2.98)
Blocks per set: Theanna Vernon (1.28)
Assists per set: Kate McIlmoyle (8.97)
Digs per set: Julie Longman (3.49)

McMaster (16-3) clinched their berth at the national championship after beating Ryerson 3-1 in the OUA semifinal, before barely edging Western 3-2 for the team’s third title and second in four seasons. Ryerson later fell to defending national champion and No.1-ranked Toronto in the bronze medal game, just missing the conference podium.

“It has been one of our goals from the beginning of the season to become part of the discussion at the national level, and we have earned that spot,” McMaster head coach Tim Louks. “We believe that we have the skill and the mentality to compete with any team at the tournament, and we relish the opportunity to do so this weekend.”

“As a team we are thrilled to be at the U SPORTS Women’s Volleyball Championship, and are confident we will represent Western and the OUA well,” said Mustangs head coach Melissa Bartlett. “To earn a spot at a national championship tournament in a team sport is a rare opportunity for any athlete and we are so excited to have the opportunity this week. I expect every match to be a battle – for the rest of our season we will be matched up against Top 10 teams and it’s going to be fun to see how we rise to the occasion and compete with the best.” 

“As soon as we weren’t able to meet our goals at the OUA Championship, we’ve had to refocus for this week,” Ryerson head coach Dustin Reid. “We didn’t go to OUAs to tune up for nationals. We were there to win. The reality now is that it comes down to one match on Friday. We have to prepare for that and be able to play the best version of volleyball that we can for that period of time and find a way to beat our competitor.”

RSEQ representative

No.4 Montréal Carabins (RSEQ champions)
2016 result: 5th

Statistical leaders
Kills per set:
Marie-Alex Bélanger (4.31)
Blocks per set: Alexane L. Joly (0.94)
Assists per set: Katia Forcier (8.73)
Digs per set: Stéphanie Lojen (3.14)

The Carabins (15-5) secured a third consecutive RSEQ banner and eighth in the last 10 years after back-to-back two-game sweeps of Sherbrooke and Laval, advancing with a convincing 3-0 win over the Rouge et Or.

“We have had an excellent season and some very good playoffs, despite a difficult and challenging schedule,” said Montreal head coach Olivier Trudel. “I think the U SPORTS Women’s Volleyball Championship will be more open than ever this year. The balance of power between the different teams is quite different and there is a great parity between the participants. I think it will be a very exciting championship.”

AUS representative

No.5 Dalhousie Tigers (AUS champions)
National titles:
1982
2016 result: 6th

Statistical leaders
Kills per set:
Courtney Baker (2.64)
Blocks per set: Victoria Haworth (0.82)
Assists per set: Abby Czenze (9.35)
Digs per set: Marisa Mota (5.22)

Dalhousie’s (19-1) reign will continue for another year in the AUS, after the Tigers achieved their fifth straight conference championship with a pair of straight-set victories over Moncton in the best-of-three final.

“Winning our fifth consecutive AUS championship is a special accomplishment,” said Dalhousie head coach Rick Scott. “It is a credit to the girls’ commitment, work ethic and toughness. We aren’t satisfied with just attending the national championship; we are motivated to play well and win matches.”

SCHEDULE & RESULTS (All times ET)

Thursday, March 16
7:00 p.m. 2017 U SPORTS Women’s Volleyball All-Canadian Awards

Friday, March 17
12:00 p.m. Quarter-final #1: No.2 McMaster vs. No.7 Trinity Western (USPORTS.LIVE)
2:00 p.m. Quarter-final #2: No.3 UBC vs No.6 Western (USPORTS.LIVE)
6:00 p.m. Quarter-final #3: No.1 Alberta vs. No.8 Ryerson (USPORTS.LIVE)
8:00 p.m. Quarter-final #4: No.4 Montreal vs. No.5 Dalhousie (USPORTS.LIVE)

Saturday, March 18
12:00 p.m. Consolation #1: Loser QF #1 vs. Loser QF #2 (USPORTS.LIVE)
2:00 p.m. Consolation #2: Loser QF #3 vs. Loser QF #4 (USPORTS.LIVE)
6:00 p.m. Semifinal #1: Winner QF #1 vs. Winner QF #2 (USPORTS.LIVE)
8:00 p.m. Semifinal #2: Winner QF #3 vs. Winner QF #4 (USPORTS.LIVE)

Sunday, March 19
10:00 a.m. 5th place (USPORTS.LIVE)
1:00 p.m. Bronze medal (USPORTS.LIVE)
4:00 p.m. Championship final (USPORTS.LIVE)

About U SPORTS

U SPORTS is the national brand for University Sports in Canada. Every year, over 12,000 student-athletes and 500 coaches from 56 universities vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports. U SPORTS also provides higher performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well as numerous world university championships. For further information, visit usports.ca or follow us on:

Twitter: @USPORTSca
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For further information, please contact:

Ken Saint-Eloy
Manager, Communications
U SPORTS
Cell: 647-871-7595
ksainteloy@usports.ca 

Alan Hudes 
Coordinator, Communications
U SPORTS
Off: 905-508-3000 ext. 242
Cell: 647-991-5343
ahudes@usports.ca

2017 U SPORTS FOG Men’s Volleyball Championship
Connor Hood

University of Alberta
Off: 780-492-7214
Cell: 780-935-6276
hood@ualberta.ca

2017 U SPORTS Women’s Volleyball Championship Presented by Jason Rinaldi
Andrea Elliott

Ryerson University
Off: 416-979-5000 Ext. 3042
Cell: 647-621-6495
andrea.elliott@ryerson.ca