Men's volleyball advances to semi-final at Nationals

Nigel Mullan | Mar 11, 2011

It took every point of five full sets to do it, but the Briercrest Clippers defeated the defending National Champion Limoilou Titans in thrilling fashion tonight at the 2010-11 CCAA Men’s Volleyball Nationals. The quarter-final matchup was anticipated to be a good one, and it did not disappoint. The second-seeded Clippers were facing the number seven seed Titans, but it was far from a mismatch.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/35924888@N08/5516412475/" title="Untitled by merrill dyck, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5137/5516412475_09735e2d8f.jpg" width="500" height="314" alt="" /></a>
“Limoilou is one of the top teams in the tournament,” said Clipper head coach Nigel Mullan after the match. “They are big and physical and play excellent defense. They certainly played well tonight.”

The Titans came out flying and built a huge early lead over the higher-ranked Clippers. Despite a push from Briercrest late in the set and some strong middle attacking from fifth-year Blake Proudfoot, the Titans continued to roll to a 25-17 first set victory.

Briercrest responded with a stronger start in the second set and it was a battle right through until Colin Kubinec finally put the nail in the coffin to give the Clippers the set at 27-25.

In the third set, Briercrest looked like they were finally going to start to roll as they began to get some points off of strong defense, timely blocking and transition attacking. They got up 20-14 on Limoilou, but the Titans battled back with some great defense and serving of their own. Briercrest eventually took the set 25-23.

Down two sets to one, Limoilou came out firing in the fourth set, taking a big early lead off of some more strong serving and defense. The Clippers made a comeback in the latter part of the set, but the Titans took it 25-21, forcing a fifth and deciding set.

The teams traded points early in the set until Limoilou went on a run to go up 8-4 at the switch. Things looked doubtful for the ACAC champs at that point, but they never gave up. Clawing back to a tie at 9-9, the teams started to exchange sideouts. At 13-13, Cody Quiring, who had come off the bench to give the Clippers a spark, made a timely roll shot to put his team up by one. From there, Joel Dyck forced an overpass from the Titans with an aggressive serve and Scott Lesher put down the final kill for the Clippers.

Blake Proudfoot was named Player of the Game for his great contribution on offence in the middle, especially early in the match. Cody Quiring and Zac Ens also both had strong matches for the Clippers.

“I can’t say at this point how we won that match,” said Mullan. “It was shear determination from our guys – they never gave up, especially in that last set. Both teams fought extremely hard for every point and I am just happy we came out on top. We know we need to improve for tomorrow’s semi-final.”

Briercrest will take on the Columbia Bible College Bearcats in that semi-final tomorrow. The Bearcats came into the tournament as the sixth seed and are the silver medalist from the B.C. Conference. They defeated the host Sherbrooke Voluntaires (third seed) in straight sets Thursday night in their quarter-final match.

The semi-final between Briercrest and CBC will be broadcast live on GO TV at 8:00 p.m. Quebec time, Friday March 11th. Tune in to watch at <strong>http://diffusion.tvgo.ca/volleyball-ca/</strong> . The other semi-final will feature the Humber College Hawks versus the top-ranked UBC-Okanagan Heat.