Major technical issues, of pretty much every kind, kept me from watching today's action live. I feel bad about that, especially because it ended up being a big day.
The first match was between Trinity Western and Regina for fifth place. As I've said before, I'm generally not too interested in the classification playoffs, but this turned out to be perhaps the most exciting match of the tournament. It was the only tournament match to go 5 sets, with the Spartans prevailing 15-13 in the 5th. All sets except the 4th were decided by either 2 or 3 points. In her final collegiate match, outside hitter Desiree Ates went off for 28 kills for the homestanding Cougars, but it just wasn't enough. The third-seeded Spartans rebounded from their surprising day-one loss to finish the best they could, paced by Sophie Carpentier's 19 kills and 17 from Alicia Perrin.
For the bronze, it was Dalhousie against Laval. This one started off tight, too -- scores of 25-23 or 25-22 for each of the first three sets, the first going to Dalhousie and the second two to the Rouge et Or. Maggie Li was a house of fire for the Tigers, notching 17 kills on .341 efficiency, but it wasn't enough as Laval claimed the match in a decisive 25-15 fourth set. Ève Thibault, Esther Gilbert, and Alyssa Fields-Bouchard all notched double-figure kills for Laval, who earned the bronze and a second spot for RSEQ at next year's tournament.
Then the main event was the match between the top two seeds, UBC and Manitoba, with the former looking for their seventh consecutive national title. It sure seemed to me that the Bisons could give the Thunderbirds a fair challenge, as the T-Birds struggled a bit in the quarters and the semis against competition you'd figure they should easily outclass. Manitoba, however, didn't drop a set in either the semis or the quarters.
The first set was tight, going to the Bisons by 25-22. The only difference in attacking was one additional kill for Manitoba -- effectively the difference in the set -- as errors were the same and total attacks pretty close. Set 2 was a bizarre one, with the Thunderbirds notching 16 kills to the Bisons' 11 but still losing by that same count of 25-22. That's because they had 13 attacking errors while the Bisons had only one. 13 attacking errors and 11 opponent kills is tough to overcome -- that's already almost 25 points without any points coming from faults or serving. The third set went more decidedly to Manitoba, as UBC managed only 8 kills in a 25-20 loss. That means the queens of the mountain have been dethroned -- Manitoba are your new national champions.
The big hitting star of the match was Rachel Cockrell, who was named tournament MVP. She scored 18 kills in the national final on just one error. No one else for Manitoba had more than six in this match. UBC's two-headed monster of Abbey Keeping and Lisa Barclay both reached double digits, but the latter's 11 errors dropped her efficiency to just barely positive (and two other T-Birds hit negative).
And that puts the 2013-14 CIS volleyball season to bed. Congratulations to the Manitoba Bisons for claiming the national title.no comments