It’s finally here, the 2015 CCAA Women’s Volleyball Championships have opened in Longueuil, Quebec. Day 1 started off strong, setting the table for an exciting Friday. The semi finals are set and every team still has a chance to medal.
The CCAA offers a different format than our friends at the CIS. Losing a match at Nationals doesn’t mean you can’t play for a medal in the CCAA. Think of the Bronze Medal draw as a Double Elimination tournament. Every team that is knocked out from the Gold Medal side can regain their focus and come home with some hardware. Today will show which team can rebound and show some grit to earn a medal.
The Vancouver Island University Mariners showed why winning the PACWEST Championships makes you battle tested for Nationals. They cruised to a Quarter Final win vs the Mount Saint Vincent University Mystics 25-20, 25-19, and 25-23. VIU was lead by their All Canadian Tyler Turnbull who had 11 kills, 4 blocks, 4 digs and 1 ace in the opener. Saint Vincent’s Rookie standout Madison Urquhart lead the way with 9 kills, 1 block, 11 digs, and 1 ace. Urquhart was the Mystics Player of the Game, while Mariners setter Claire Meloughlin took the honours for her team.
Expectations were high as two undefeated conference champions squared off on Thursday afternoon. The RSEQ Champion Elans de Garneau and OCAA Champion Humber Hawks treated fans to a 5 set nail bitter. Both teams have an impressive streak of 8 straight appearances at Nationals. This was a back and forth battle where no lead was safe in any set. Both teams played scrappy defence and served tough. Garneau won the opening set 25-23 after Humber lead at 20. The Hawks flipped the script to win the 2nd and 3rd sets 25-23, with Garneau owning the lead at the half way point. Garneau was able to gain control in the 4th set jumping out to a 6-1 lead. They kept that cushion most of the way closing it out at 25-21 to head to a fifth. It was Humber’s day as they were down at the side change and couldn’t make up that ground falling 15-8. Elans de Garneau’s Maud Chapleau showed why she earned All Canadian honours with 20 kills, 2 blocks, 18 digs, and 1 ace. Humber’s star Thalia Hanniman who earned All Canadian and OCAA Player of the Year honours lead the way for the Hawks with 23 kills, 2 blocks, 12 digs and 2 aces. Noemie Daigneault was named Player of the Game for Garneau with 9kills, 1 block, 18 digs and 3 aces. Hawks Libero Jolande Amoraal was named Player of the Game with 24 digs and credited with 1 fantastic libero kill.
VIU meets FX Garneau Élans in the semi final today at 6:00pm. Both teams are no stranger to this tournament, experience won’t create an advantage. Hopefully the Garneau super fans make the trip from Quebec City to create a home court feel.
MSVU plays Humber to open the day at 1:00pm in a quarter final on the bronze medal side. These two teams met at a pre-season tournament at Humber, where Humber started their undefeated run winning that event.
The upsets belonged to the Men’s Tournament on Day 1. We can’t credit a 4 vs 5 game as being an upset when really you are flipping a coin to say the PACWEST Silver Medalist should be ranked higher than the ACAC Silver Medalist. Credit to the ranking committee for making these two strong teams meet each other in the quarters. The Grande Prairie Wolves showed some grit and were the best team after 20 in their 3-1 victory over the Camosun College Chargers. The Wolves took the first two sets 25-22, 25-18. The Chargers fought back to win a tough 4th set 26-24. The 4th set would be much of the same as both teams battled hard with Grande Prairie closing it out 25-23. Both setters were named Player of the Game as Erika Sheen was the Chargers award winner and All Canadian Forrest Drezet earned Player of the Game for her team.
The Cégep Édouard-Montpetit Lynx came out of the gate flying versus the Red Deer College Queens winning the first set 25-13. Unfortunately for the Lynx they weren’t able to keep the pressure at that high level. The Queens showed why they are defending National Champions. Red Deer settled in to take the next 3 sets 25-19, 25-17, 25-17. Megan Schmidt was named Player of the Game for Red Deer. Adryanna Dorismond-Rodrigue was named Player of the Game for Édouard-Montpetit
Hopefully the Édouard-Montpetit fans turn out in record numbers to support the Lynx versus the Camosun Chargers. Camosun knows how hard it is to earn a birth a Nationals out of the PACWEST Conference. They won’t waste an opportunity to play for a medal. That Bronze Medal Quarter is set for 3:00pm today.
Red Deer continues their quest for a back to back Championship tonight at 8:00pm. Standing in their way is conference rival Grande Prairie. This will be a great semi final. The Queens have defeated the Wolves in the last two ACAC Championships. Maybe all of the pieces are in place for Grande Prairie to finally pull off the upset on the biggest state of the season.
If you can’t make it to the event in person catch all of the action live streamed. We've got the links over on our Championship Homepage.