CIS: CanWest Women's Final Four

CIS: CanWest Women's Final Four

The last four teams alive in the Canada West have traveled to Edmonton where the Alberta Golden Pandas will be hosting the Final Four. 

The Canada West title is on the line, as well as three tickets to the CIS Final at the University of Toronto next weekend. Here's what's on tonight's schedule.

UBC Thunderbirds vs. Alberta Golden Pandas

6:00 p.m. MST

The #1 team in Canada hosts the defending Canada West champs in the opening match of the Final Four. The No. 10 Thunderbirds and No. 1 Pandas split their series in November, with both teams walking away with 3-2 wins. Canada West first team All-Star Meg Casault (Edmonton, AB) will lead the assault for the Golden Pandas while 2014 CIS Player of the Year Lisa Barclay (Brandon, MA) 

UBCO Heat vs. Trinity Western Spartans

7:30 p.m. MST

We've got a Battle of B.C. in the second semi-final when the No. 2 Heat and No. 4 Spartans face-off for a spot in the finals. Neither team will be willing to give an inch, and why would they? With identical records and both teams splitting 3-2 wins, there's nothing to separate these two teams. Canada West first team All-Stars Katy Klomps (Surrey, BC) and Alicia Perrin (Creston, BC) will lead the Heat and the Spartans respectively for a chance at the title. 

CIS: Live Stream Schedule October 24th-26th

CIS: Live Stream Schedule October 24th-26th
 The Alberta Golden Pandas and Trinity Western Spartans both sit atop the Canada West at 3-1. They go toe-to-toe this weekend.  Photo: Trinity Western Spartans

The Alberta Golden Pandas and Trinity Western Spartans both sit atop the Canada West at 3-1. They go toe-to-toe this weekend.  Photo: Trinity Western Spartans

 

Finally, the time is here when all four CIS conferences are in full swing, and the action is plentiful. If you can't make it out to a match, don't miss a second by watching all your favourite teams right here! Here's a few matches we think you should watch. 

Trinity Western @ Alberta - Men & Women

For both the men and women, the Bears and Spartans are wrestling for dominance already early in this CIS season. For the men, both undefeated and setting up a re-match of last year's CanWest Final. Should be a classic like the rest of them. Check it out. 

Ryerson @ McMaster - Men - Friday

McMaster had a rocky start to their season last weekend going 1-1, while the Rams took care of Guelph easily. The Marauders will be looking to settle down at the top of the OUA, while Ryerson might have a serious bid to wreak some havoc. 

McMaster @ Ottawa - Women - Saturday

Ottawa started the year at No. 4 but saw that disappear quickly as they went 0-2 last weekend. In this re-match of last year's OUA Final, McMaster could put the Gee-Gees in a tight spot early.

 

Women

Friday October 24th

Saturday October 25th

Sunday October 26th, 2014

  • Dalhousie vs, Laval (@ Montreal) - 10:00 a.m. ET
  • Saint Mary's vs. McGill (@ Montreal) - 10:00 a.m. ET
  • Cape Breton @ Montreal - 12:00 p.m. ET
  • Acadia vs. Sherbrooke (@ Montreal) - 12:00 p.m. ET
  • Toronto @ Brock - 7:00 p.m. ET

 

News: UBC Sport Review

 Could the days of UBC men's volleyball be numbered?  Photo: The Ubyssey

Could the days of UBC men's volleyball be numbered?  Photo: The Ubyssey

The University of British Columbia released the results of the first stage of its sport review this week, confirming 16 of 29 teams to continue competing in the years to come. The sport review stems from the increase of $800,000 to the athletic budget, $200,00 in which is to go to the Varsity Budget.

The six-time defending CIS Champions women’s volleyball program was among the 16 teams who were granted confirmed status.

Unfortunately, the men’s program was not granted the same luxury, and will have to wait until the end of February when the results of the second stage are announced.

Other notable sports that did not make the list are men’s hockey and women’s soccer.

Unfortunately, the volleyball community is all too familiar with what happens when athletic departments are looking to make cuts, and it’s hard for some not think of the worst right of the bat.

That being said, the Thunderbirds do have a storied history in the CIS, which includes three CIS Championships. While all of them are from a by-gone era, the current-day Thunderbirds are among the top in the nation, currently ranked fifth in the nation, and boast a roster with some of Canada’s best young talent.

Ben Chow has represented Canada on more than one occasion on the beach at U19 and U21 World Championships, and took home the Gold medal for British-Columbia at the 2013 Canada Games.

Along with him, Milan Nikic, Jarrid Ireland, Ian Perry, Alex Russel, and Chris Howe have been a part of the National Junior program in the past few years. Not to mention, they also boast Austin Hinchey, the captain of Canada’s men’s national sitting team.

So with a roster that boasts some of Canada’s best young athletes and leaders, will UBC choose to shut this team down? Given the Thunderbird talent that has moved on to the National team, namely Blair Bann and Steve Gotch, it would be a disaster if they were the last ones to dawn the red and white jersey.

As for what we can do? It’s simple; support them. Go to their games. And if you can’t do that, watch them on the live stream. The best way to help keep men’s volleyball at UBC is to show your appreciation for the program.

Long term, is anyone else tired of Canadian Universities cutting down the number of teams they carry? It’s no secret that University sport helps foster some of the best young leaders that can be found, and unlike our neighbours to the south, our student-athletes truly are students first, and have to perform in the classroom equally as well as they have to on the court.

So why are Universities looking to take away the opportunities away from these students? Whether it’s the Universities taking away funding from the athletic departments, or the athletic departments looking to cut costs, there is one constant factor; it’s the students who suffer the consequences.

Without a doubt, schools should always encourage their teams to strive for the top, but what’s being taught when a school simply cancels a program that’s fallen behind?

There’s no perfect formula that will create a successful program, but the only way to guarantee that it fails, is to cancel it. 

The Volleyball Source Podcast: Episode 72

The Volleyball Source Podcast: Episode 72

This week on the show we speak with Trinity Western University men's volleyball Head Coach Ben Josephson.

Want to ask us, or Coach Josephson a question?  Leave us at YouTube comment or send us a tweet!

Asics CanAm Challenge

Asics CanAm Challenge
  Malibu, California - Home of Pepperdine University (Photo: Wikipedia)

Malibu, California - Home of Pepperdine University (Photo: Wikipedia)

Canadian volleyball teams travelling to the US at this time of year isn't something new.  NCAA men's volleyball starts in January and it has become common for American schools to invite some of their Canadian friends down for some pre-season scrimmages, practices or matches.

This year Pepperdine University based in Malibu, California is hosting The Asics CanAm Challenge.  There is limited information about this "event" but from the looks of it, it's just one exhibition match between The Alberta Golden Bears men's volleyball team and The Pepperdine Waves.

Live Stream

Pepperdine vs. Alberta - 8:00 p.m. EST (Live Stream)

CIS: CIS Makes Big Eligibility and Scholarship Changes

CIS: CIS Makes Big Eligibility and Scholarship Changes

The 26th of November may be forever ingrained in Canadian sports history. Yes, we all heard about the gigantic deal between Rogers and the NHL, and while that may have some repercussions in volleyball, another announcement was made that could potentially be a game changer in not only volleyball, but Canadian athletics as a whole.

Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), announced yesterday a “trio” of motions approved by the 55 member institutions.

Those who want to read the CIS’ press release can do so here.

The first is the announcement of a brand new strategic plan, which is “based on values such as student-athlete experience, excellence, team work and ethics”.

This vague announcement, paired with how excited the CIS seems to be to present it, is really peaking our interest. It’s no secret that the CIS has forever been in the shadows to our brothers of the south and the endlessly funded NCAA. Men’s volleyball is probably one of the few, if not the only, sport where the level of play in the CIS and NCAA is more or less at par. While in women’s volleyball, there’s no doubt that our best athletes are leaving the country to go play in a league revered around the world. Is the CIS going to start trying to compete with the giant that is the NCAA?

Which brings us to their next announcement, the Eligibility Repatriation Rule. Canadians athletes who ventured to the US and didn’t enjoy the experience have always had to sit a year out before joining a new team in the CIS. Well this is no longer the case. Coming into effect in September of 2014, athletes wishing to return to Canada and compete at a CIS school will no longer have to sit out an entire year.

There’s no doubt we’re going to see an increase of athletes coming back to the CIS; there are bound to be a few athletes wishing to play in Canada and the only thing that’s stopping them is having no desire to take a step back form competition for year.

But knowing they have something to fall back on now with no consequence, are we going to see more athletes test the waters of the NCAA? In my opinion, the men are the one who may use this to their advantage. We may see a slight increase of women heading south, but that path is already well trodden, while the men might dip a toe of the waters just to see what it’s like. In 2012 we saw two top recruits Dany Demyanenko and Stephen turn down UCLA and Hawai’i respectively at the last minute in favour of McMaster, would their decision have been different if they knew they could come back a year later with no consequence?

Finally, the third, and one that could potentially change the entire attitude of the CIS is the Women’s Hockey Pilot Project. This is a five-year project that removes current restrictions associated with CIS athletic scholarships. Schools sporting a women’s hockey will be able to offer those athletes with additional money to cover room and board, as well as school books. All other sports will remain under the old system, and will only be able to provide scholarships that cover uniquely tuition and compulsory fees.

While it may still be a while off, but is the CIS taking its first full steps in fully supporting its athletes and allowing athletic departments to offer full-rides? It’s looking promising.

This trial period will be closely monitored for five-years, so it will be at least a half-decade until we see a another step being taken, but still, it is a start. 

 

CIS: Top Rookies of 2013

CIS: Top Rookies of 2013

The first semester of CIS volleyball is coming to a close, and rookies across the country are adapting to a new team, new systems, and a new level of dedication. In no particular order, here are a few that have started their CIS careers running.

Canada West

Adam Schriemer - Trinity Western

Being a first-year setter may be one of the toughest realities in the world of volleyball. To step up and run a team’s offense is a daunting task for anyone fresh out of the club system, but Trinity Western’s Adam Schriemer has done just that.

The 6’7” setter from Winnipeg has already played in 21 of 24 sets for the Spartans and seems to have won the starting position over second-year Scott Plocktis. Schriemer got the nod in both matches against Alberta over the weekend.

One thing you notice about most first-year players is their size; generally the lack of it. Schriemer already looks like a much older player, as he physically looks like he’s been at Trinity for a few years already.

The first-year has already tallied 173 assists, only good enough for 17th in the CIS at the moment, but we have a feeling that this kid will be among the top athletes in the country for the next few years.

Adam DeJonckheere - Manitoba

While they might share the same name, Manitoba Bison rookie Adam DeJonckheere is a completely different beast then his Spartan colleague. Weighing no more than 180 pounds (and trust us, even that’s pushing it), and sporting the infamous ‘Bieber flow’, Adam DeJonckheere looks like he should probably still be in high school.

But man can he put the ball away.

VSM first got a look at him when he was playing for Team Manitoba at the Canada Games. He came in for Manitoba in the 3rd set of their quarterfinal against BC, and pretty much had an immediate impact, scoring points and helping Manitoba force a 5th set, where they lost 15-13 to the eventual bronze medalists.

DeJonckheere has continued that run against some of the best players in the country, with 91 kills in six matches for the Bisons, and averaging 3.37 kills/set, this former member of Winnipeg’s 204 Club is already making headlines. Oh, did we mention that his 100 points is good enough for 8th in the CIS?

Keith West - Calgary

This first-year from Lethbridge isn’t putting up the big numbers like his colleagues have been, but Keith West has been holding it down on the outside for the Dinos this year.

He’s played in 24 of 29 sets for Calgary, and already racked up 43 kills, while fighting for a spot on the court for the only team guaranteed a spot at Nationals in March. If West can keep it up, he may play some very big minutes for a team poised to surprise some people this year.

Leah Shevkenek - Regina

If there’s one bright spot so far this year for the Regina Cougars, it’s first-year setter Leah Shevkenek.

The rookie from Calgary has stepped into the starting rotation without even missing a beat. Winning a gold medal at the Canada Games this summer helped, as she’s stepped in and ran the offence for the Cougars in every match this season.

Already she sits fourth in the CIS with 253 assists, and is sixth with 9.73 assists/set. She’s also added 8 aces from the baseline.

If Regina is looking for a player to build a team around, it looks like they may have found the one.

Vaovai Aiono - Brandon

Brandon Bobcats have raced out of the gate to start the season at 5-1, their only loss came in a weekend split to Alberta.

Vaovai Aiono has most definitely had her hand in that. Although it’s tough to call her a rookie considering she has already played internationally as a member of the New Zealand national team, Aiono has already put up some pretty good numbers.

Through six matches, Aiono sits in third on the Bobcats with 49 kills, averaging 2.33 kills/set. She’s also been effective from the baseline, with eight aces already on the season.

Janna Ogle - Calgary

This first-year hailing from Edmonton has been making a name for herself for the Dinos this year.

She sits third in team scoring with 47 kills so far, only one behind teammate Emma Pederson, who has played in six more sets than Ogle. Her 2.47 kills/set, on the other hand, is good enough for second on the team.

After losing five starters, there’s no question that the Dinos are looking to rebuild, but with the addition of Ogle to the already very impressive second-year Ali Woolley, Calgary is looking to be one of the teams to beat in the next few years.

OUA

Sophie Bukovec - McMaster

It’s hard to believe that Sophie Bukovec is only a rookie in the CIS. With a few FIVB and NORCECA beach events under her belt, and a Canada Games beach volleyball gold medal around her neck, this first-year for the McMaster Marauders definitely comes with an impressive resume.

With 71 kills through five matches, she leads all rookies so far in pretty much every offensive department. She’s averaging 3.74 kills/set, as well as 4.3 points/set, categories in which she sits eighth in the country.

She’s lead her team in scoring in four of six matches this year, including a 26 point performance in a 3-1 loss to Windsor.

Kate Lonergan - Toronto

Although not a true rookie as she was a red-shirt for the Varsity Blues last year, Kate Lonergan has come in and played like a veteran for a team right in the thick of things in the competitive OUA East.

The libero from North Vancouver has already racked up 102 digs, placing her third in the country, and is averaging 4.25 digs/set, putting her eighth in the CIS.

What is more impressive from Lonergan is her attitude on the court. Her energy and poise on the court would indicate a veteran player with multiple years of experience; rather than a first-year who has barely taken her first steps in the CIS.

Aleks Arsovic - York

This first-year from Oakville has been more than steady so far this year for the undefeated York Lions.

Pacing herself with 58 kills and 58 digs so far, Arsovic has made an impact both offensively and defensively for the No. 5 Lions.

Arsovic led York in their second match of the year, a 3-1win over Waterloo, when she scored 15 points; all of them kills, and hit a .353.

Adam Anagnostopoulos - Ryerson

The Ryerson Rams were a big question mark in the OUA this year. Sure, they still had Rob Wojcik, but with the loss of setter Aleksa Miladinovic to Toronto, Ryerson definitely could have flourished or plummeted.

Luckily for them, in came Anagnostopoulos, and the ability to calmly run an efficient offence, which has allowed him to amass a cool 243 assists so far this season, good enough for sixth in the CIS. 

Jeff Ardon - Ryerson

It's tough to justify having two players from the same team on this list, but the way both of them are playing at the moment it would be hard to omit either of them. Much like Anagnostopoulos, Ardon had some big shoes to fill. Not only has he filled them, they may even be too small. 

He's played in every set this year for the Rams, and has put up some serious numbers already. He’s one of the most efficient hitters in the CIS, hitting a .462, not to mention sits fifth in the CIS with 15 solo blocks.

Pawel Jedrzejewski - McMaster

Pawel Jedrzejewski has quietly been having a solid season for the No. 2 McMaster Marauders. The rookie libero has played in every set this year for the Marauders, and has committed only one error so far this year. The way he's playing, the fact that not many have noticed him is a gigantic compliment, because it means he's being consistently solid for one of the top teams in the country. 

While he's only racked up 23 digs this year, he is leading McMaster in that department. Considering the Marauders have won all of their games but one in straight sets, and the way they've dominated most matches, we're not entirely surprised that their just aren't that many balls to dig.

AUS

Matthew Donovan - Dalhousie

The AUS is well on it's way to one of it's best showings yet, as they dominated the RSEQ in the first Interlocking weekend. One factor leading this is veteran squads at both UNB and Dalhousie, but there is one rookie who is getting starting minutes in the AUS. 

Matthew Donovan has stepped in nicely for the Tigers this year, and while he hasn't been as immediately dominant as some of the others on the list, he's most definitely already proved that he belongs.

The London, Ontario native has racked up 36 kills throughout 7 matches this year, hitting a sweet .492 so far this year. Add 13 blocks to that, and those stats aren't anything to bat an eye at. 

Desiree Nouwen

Desiree Nouwen is another who's only a rookie in theory, but we'll give it to her anyways.

This international student from The Netherlands who has already played semi-pro back home has transitioned very well so far playing for the Tigers. Although they've played a league fewest five matches, her 4.19 kills/set is 2nd best in the CIS, while her 4.9 points/set puts her in 3rd. She can get it done on the defensive side of the game too, as she sits in 12th nationally with 3.75 digs/set.

Rachel Windhorst - St. Mary's 

On the complete opposite side of the country from where she grew up, Rachel Windhorst doesn't seem to be affected by the change of scenery. The Surrey native is leading the No. 10 St. Mary's Huskies offensively this season with 54 kills, and averaging 3.18 kills/set. We're not saying she's the reason, but she's most definitely a big part of the Huskies’ success this season. 

 

Just a thought: Should RSEQ athletes who have played in the CCAA be eligible to win Rookie of the Year awards, or be a part of the all-rookie team? For this one, we decided to not include them, must like we wouldn't include players coming from the OCAA or the ACAC. Don't agree? Send us your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook