In a week of CIS volleyball that presented little in the way of mouth-watering match ups, it's no great surprise that the schedule played out entirely to form. In fact, there was not an upset of any magnitude to rattle the rankings or pose any new questions. The only seeded team to lose over the course of the weekend was the Thompson Rivers WolfPack, and they did so twice to the team currently without a conference loss to its record in Canada West.
#1 Laval Rouge et Or (1st in RPI)
Another week and another pair of routine wins for the Rouge et Or, who seem determined not to break a sweat this season. The Laval outfit begin their weekend with a trip to Sherbrooke on Friday, where they dropped a set (gasp!), before dismissing the Vert et Or in four frames. The typically immense Karl de Grandpre exploded for 28 points in the victory, converting a masterly 25 of 51 hitting in the process. Saturday saw the Rouge et Or return to their home gym and dish out a hefty beating to the Montreal Carabins. Laval cruised to the sweep, losing no more than 17 points in a given set.
Next Week: vs. Sherbrooke on Friday (Feb. 4)
#2 Alberta Golden Bears (2nd in RPI)
The Golden Bears did what was entirely expected of them by sweeping aside the lowly Winnipeg Wesmen in consecutive matches this past weekend. No surprise that it was the tandem of Spencer Leiske and Jay Olmstead who paced the Albertans to those wins. Leiske was particularly lethal on Saturday night, posting up 18 points on 16 of 28 hitting. Another easy weekend should be ahead, with Alberta due to entertain the conference doormats from Saskatchewan.
Next Week: vs. Saskatchewan on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 4 and 5)
#3 Calgary Dinos (4th in RPI)
#9 Thompson Rivers WolfPack (12th in RPI)
In a slow week, it was the Dinos who provided the most important results, as they dealt consecutive defeats to the #9 seeded TRU Wolfpack. Calgary swept both contests in straight sets, even while the visitors made a match of it on Friday, losing all three sets in the minimum of two points (26-24, 26-24, 25-23). Unsurprisingly, it was middle Graham Vigrass who led the Dinos' scoring charts over the weekend, posting team-leading totals of 13.5 and 16.5 points on Friday and Saturday respectively. The schedule only gets harder for the Calgarians however, as they travel to fifth-ranked Manitoba for a two-game set this weekend.
To their credit, TRU kept things exceedingly close in the first match, but simply could not demonstrate any killer instinct in the dying stages of their sets. TRU will undoubtedly squeak into the post-season, but the big question is whether they have the tools to escape from the first round.
Next Week: Dinos: @ Manitoba on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 4 and 5); WolfPack: vs. Winnipeg on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 4 and 5)
#4 Trinity Western Spartans (8th in RPI)
The Spartans had the easiest of possible assignments this past weekend, with the dream task of travelling to Saskatchewan to take on the single-win Huskies. Naturally, TWU did not drop a set in their two matches, making quick work of the worst team in Canada West. Middle standout Rudy Verhoeff led the way for the Spartans, posting up 28 points in the six sets played.
Next Week: @ Brandon on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 4 and 5)
#5 Manitoba Bisons (9th in RPI)
Nothing to report on the Bisons' front, as Manitoba did not play this past weekend. Probably a good thing too, because they'll need all the rest and preparation they can manage as they look forward to a home double-header against the conference-leading Calgary Dinos this weekend.
Next Week: vs. Calgary on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 4 and 5)
#6 Western Mustangs (5th in RPI)
The Mustangs played only a single match on home court this past weekend, welcoming their neighbours from Windsor and quickly dispatching them in three lop-sided sets. Windsor remains one of the most disappointing and inconsistent teams in the OUA this season. As for the Mustangs, they rolled through the match after winning the first set by a 16 point margin. Left side Garrett May topped the charts for Western, managing 17 points on an impressive 16 of 25 hitting.
Next Week: vs. Laurier on Friday (Feb. 4), vs. Waterloo on Saturday (Feb. 5)
#7 Brandon Bobcats (11th in RPI)
Much like the majority of the other major players from Canada West, Brandon enjoyed a relatively easy weekend, visiting Regina for back-to-back contests against the then 2-10 Cougars. The result was yet another pair of straight-set victories (this is not a recording). Superman, turned outside sensation Paul Sanderson tallied the relatively human total of 16 points on Friday night, before returning to his usually otherworldly ways in notching 25 the following night. A much tougher task awaits the Bobcats this weekend, as they play host to the Trinity Western Spartans.
Next Week: vs. TWU on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 4 and 5)
#8 Queen's Golden Gaels (6th in RPI)
Similar to their rivals from Western, the Gaels enjoyed a relatively low-key weekend, hosting the Toronto Varsity Blues in their sole match of the week on Saturday. With the usual suspect Joren Zeeman having a sub-par day, it was middle hitter Niko Rukavina who stepped up to provide the offence for the Gaels. The senior managed to notch 19.5 points while converting on a ridiculous total of 19 of 23 hitting attempts with two errors, good for a final percentage of .696. Queen's should pad their record this coming weekend, as they swing through the Big Smoke.
Next Week: @ Ryerson on Saturday (Feb. 5), @ York on Sunday (Feb. 6)
#10 McMaster Marauders (3rd in RPI)
The Marauders added two more wins to their total with consecutive home matches against mid-table Toronto squads. They dealt four set defeats to both York and Ryerson, but were not entirely convincing in doing so. Wing play continues to be erratic for the Marauders, and they are likely anxious for the impending return of starting rookie setter Chris Spack to the lineup following an ankle injury in December. Luckily for the Marauders, the ever-steady Tyler Santoni was typically efficient in the middle over the weekend, putting up 27 points over the course of eight sets.
Next Week: vs. Toronto on Friday (Feb. 4), @ Guelph on Saturday (Feb. 5)