By: Brendan Collins
In the only two matches on the AUS men’s volleyball side this week, the Dalhousie Tigers (10-2) swept the Memorial Seahawks in back to back day matches. The AUS leading Tigers demonstrated their dominance refused to allow the Seahawks to score any more than eighteen points in the six sets played. Entering the new year, the Memorial Seahawks (0-12) were hoping to earn their first set win of the 2013/2014 season (0-36), however it was not meant to be. The Seahawks averaged just under fourteen points a set (Saturday: 12-25, 15-25, 15-2; Sunday: 18-25, 10-25, 12-25). Dalhousie meanwhile is hoping to improve on their four game winning streak next week during the AUS-RSEQ interlock event #3 when they play Sherbrooke, Montreal and Laval universities.
The Dalhousie women’s volleyball team (7-4) also played host to the Memorial Seahawks (3-7) both Saturday and Sunday where Dal again beat the Newfoundland representatives in both matches by scores of 3-0 and 3-1. The women’s Tigers team is also ranked first in the AUS and are now enjoying a three match winning streak, despite having played two more matches than second placed team, the Saint Mary’s Huskies (6-3) who had the weekend off. Sunday also featured two more matches. The first saw the still winless Cape Breton University (0-10) fall to the fifth seeded Acadia Axewomen (3-8) in another three set sweep. The final match of the weekend went the distance as Moncton University (3-8) blew a convincing 2-0 set lead over third ranked University of New Brunswick (4-6) who managed to come back and win the final three sets (15-25, 14-25, 25-23, 25-20, 15-10).
By: Pierre Rocque
The holidays are over and Canada-West volleyball was back in full swing and it started with a big shocker, the UBCO Heat pulled out a two match sweep from their cross province older brother UBC Thunderbirds. Nate Speijer of UBCO let the way this weekend with a combined 30 kills and a kill efficiency above .200 he powered the second last Heat to two stunning upsets of the now fourth place Thunderbirds.
Just down the road from Kelowna in Kamloops the Thompsons River WolfPack took two matches from the Brandon Bobcats, sliding TRU into a tie for second with the Alberta Golden Bears and dropping Brandon down into the sixth seed at 7-7.
With a weekend split with the University of Manitoba, the University of Calgary moves into sole possession of the fifth seed and dropped Manitoba into a tie for the seventh and final playoff spot in the Canada-West.
Trinity Western hosted the Mount Royal Cougars for the first time and handled the Calgary team only dropping one set over the course of the weekend. The Spartans were paced by a balanced attack from Brad Kufske, Lucas Van Berkel, Ryan Sclater and weekend kill leader for TWU Nicholas Del Bianco.
The still nationally ranked University of Saskatchewan fell to tenth in the conference with a weekend split with the Winnipeg Wesmen which likely spells the end of their run of being nationally ranked with a losing record.
In the final weekend matchup, the University of Alberta Golden Bears kept pace holding onto a tie for second place in the conference with a weekend sweep of the Regina Cougars.
On the ladies side of the ball the UBCO Heat did not have quite the fortune that their men did as they lost 3-1 and 3-0 to the big sister from Vancouver UBC Thunderbirds.
The Manitoba Bisons walked in and out of Calgary with a weekend sweep of the Calgary Dinos, losing one set on Friday night and making quick 3-0 work on Saturday night in the Jack Simpson Gym.
With 27 kills and a kill efficiency above .350 in 6 sets Sophie Carpentier carried the work load for the Trinity Western Spartans in a 6 set weekend sweep of the Mount Royal Cougars.
Brandon Bobcats kept the Wolfpack from winning their first set of the season. TRU was unable to get to 20 in a consistent effort from Lee Carter’s Bobcats.
University of Saskatchewan kept its hopes of their first playoff birth in quite some time alive with a weekend sweep of the Winnipeg Wesmen. On the back of big efforts from Kayla Thcholiz (24 kills, 31 points) and Candace Hueser (21 kills, 26.5 points) the Huskies held the Wesmen down in the friendly confines of the PAC.
The University of Alberta Pandas (my second half surprise pick) dropped a tough five set match on Friday night and followed it up by getting swept on Saturday night by the Regina Cougars in Regina. It was rookie Mariah Walsh’s first action of the season after suffering an early season injury, but it was not the coming out party the first year setter was hoping for. The losses drop the Pandas into the seventh and final playoff spot at 6-8 and pushed the Regina Cougars into a tie with the Mount Royal Cougars for 8th at 5-9.
By: Everett Delorme
A pair of crucial matches were set for Friday night as the OUA kicked off the 2014 portion of the season.
The No. 1 McMaster Marauders played host to the Western Mustangs, while the Ryerson Rams took a trip to the north of the city to take on the York Lions, as the teams are battling it out in the standings.
In Hamilton, fans knew they were in for a show right from the get-go, and this match could not have been closer. McMaster took the first two with a pair of very tight wins, 26-24 and 25-22. Western fought hard to get level with McMaster with a pair of wins of their own, both 25-23 nail bitters.
It’s been almost two years since the Mustangs have defeated the Marauders, January 28th 2012 being the last time, and that wasn’t about to change, as McMaster took the final and deciding set 15-10 to improve to 11-0 and remaining at the top of both the OUA and CIS standings.
Jori Mantha (Ottawa) was an absolute monster for the Marauders, going 20 for 36 and hitting a .472, while Tyson Alexander chipped in with six kills and four blocks. On the other side of the net, Garrett May and Luke Sim paced each other, both with 16 kills, with Sim hitting a .714 and adding 3 blocks to total 21.5 points on the night.
In Toronto, an amicable, but very competitive, rivalry was underway simultaneously. Ryerson took the opener in a tight 26-24 win, but York jumped ahead with a 25-21 and a slightly embarrassing 25-8 win. To the Rams credit, they bounced back quickly and forced a fifth with a 25-21 win of their own. Unfortunately, hitting a solid .000 as a team in the fifth set isn’t a great game plan, and the comeback was foiled when the Lions took the final set 15-12.
As expected, Ray Szeto led his team in victory, adding 19 to his kill total, while adding an ace and three blocks as well. Alex Duncan-Thibault was as hot as his fiery-red hair, as he added nine kills on only 12 sets. Rob Wojcik led the Rams with 11 and 15.5 points, but did so while making 12 hitting errors and hitting a -.032. Jeff Ardron was the only player on the Rams roster who hit above his weight, hitting at a .400 with eight kills and adding four blocks on the night.
While staying on the subject, the lady Rams made some strides of their own, as they took down the No. 6 Lions in a 3-1 win. The win is huge for a Ryerson team that dropped matches to both Queen’s and U of T late in 2013, although this one does come with a slight asterisks as York were missing their team leader, Melissa Humana-Paredes due to injury.
Guelph took home a rare pair of wins for the OUA West as they took down RMC 3-0, then followed it up with another sweep of Queen’s on a weekend trip to Kingston. Madison DeDecker led the Gryphons with 12 kills over RMC and 11 kills over Queen’s, while Kristen Almhjell led the defensive charge with 23 digs against Queen’s.
Finally, a big shout-out goes to the Nipissing Lakers men’s team, as they picked up their first OUA win against a team not named RMC, in a 3-0 home win over U of T. Last year’s CCAA player of the year, Frankie Edgecombe, led the match with 14 kills while hitting a smooth .400.