With another week of volleyball in the books, we take a look at the results for the country's top squads boasting 'Y' chromosomes.
Week 6 of the CIS men's volleyball schedule featured a few marquee matchups out West, but failed to provide much in the way of clarity. Manitoba and Alberta split their weekend matches in Winnipeg, while Calgary and UBC did the same in Vancouver. Meanwhile the Trinity Western war machine continued to flex its collective muscle atop the Canada West standings, and Laval dealt out similar damage in interlock play on the opposite end of the country.
Swing of the Week: Regina (3) vs. Brandon (1) - Nov. 25
This week's quickest and most definitive momentum shift comes to us from Canada's most lazily drawn province. On Friday night, the Regina Cougars led their counterparts from Brandon two sets to one, winning the third by an exhausting 42-40 score, but trailed 25-24 in the fourth. The Bobcats were intent on taking the match to a deciding frame, but with outside Ben Glue serving on set point, the Cougars' influential right-side Andrew Nelson decided to take things into his own hands.
Nelson erased the Bobcats' set point with a kill for 25-all, before reeling off two more clean winners to give the Regina outfit an important home win.
The Cougars began that decisive swing with a 65.6% chance of winning the Friday night match, and notched the victory only three points later.
Recapping the Top 10
#1 Trinity Western Spartans (8-0) and #9 UBCO Heat (3-5)
The Spartans offered another frightening demonstration of their power this past weekend, dropping consecutive bagels on the UBCO Heat. I was interested leading into this series to see how the enigma that is the first-year CIS program would match up against the nation's top team. The short answer is: not well. Trinity Western never really had to get out of first gear in either match, winning without having a single player crack the 15-point threshold. Back to the drawing board for the Heat.
#2 Alberta Golden Bears (7-1) and #3 Manitoba Bisons (9-1)
Alberta faced its toughest test of the young season, and they will likely be happy with having come away with two points after a doubleheader on the road in Winnipeg. Manitoba took the first contest on Friday night after losing the first set, enjoying a fairly efficient night from both of the usual suspects on the outside. Chris Voth was the more prolific hitter (17.5 points on 15 of 39 hitting) while Dane Pischke was the more effective (14.5 points on 14 of 29 hitting).
In the rematch a night later, the two teams traded sets throughout and while Mitch Irvine understandably saw the most of the ball, it was fellow outside Taylor Hunt who paced the Golden Bears to victory on Saturday.
Hunt put up a game-high 25.5 points on an impressive 22 of 42 hitting (.381) to lead the Albertan outfit to a critical road win and put an end to Manitoba's unbeaten season.
#4 Laval Rouge et Or (9-0)
Indulging in a weekend of interlock play, the Rouge et Or won three matches over two days at Memorial. Laval convincingly cleaned out all three members of the AUS without really flexing their attacking muscle at any point. Star outside Karl de Grandpre saw very little of the ball, and it was rookie hitter Tommy Belisle who led the way for the Rouge et Or in his stead. Belisle notched 13 points against Dalhousie on Friday, 20 the next morning against the hosts from Memorial, and 17.5 in the final match of the weekend against UNB. The smooth sailing continues for Laval.
#5 UBC Thunderbirds (6-2) and #6 Calgary Dinos (5-5)
Much like the Alberta-Manitoba match up mentioned earlier, the UBC-Calgary series would result in a split, with UBC notching a victory in the Friday opener on home soil before being blanked the next night. The Dinos would outscore their hosts in both contests, but would pay dearly for their errors in the Friday loss. Calgary gave away 16 free points from the service line and 28 on hitting attempts en route to the four set defeat.
Saturday's rematch saw the Dinos clean up their game and enjoy a much-improved performance from leading outside contributor Allen Meek. Meek would tally 17 points over the course of three sets, converting 15 of 34 hitting attempts in the process.
#7 Western Mustangs (8-0)
The Mustangs added yet another notch to their belt with a fairly routine sweep on Saturday against a struggling Waterloo side. Western spread the attacking love, and were highly efficient as a unit, posting a team hitting percentage of .393 in the victory. Sophomore middle Phil James continued his hot start to the season, converting 12 of 13 hitting attempts with a single error. Another sophomore, outside Garrett May added 12 points of his own on 10 of 12 hitting.
#8 Brandon Bobcats (3-7)
Brandon got all that they could handle from the Regina Cougars this past weekend, and came away with two of a possible four points. After dropping the aforementioned opener over the course of four sets, the Bobcats recovered well to drop the Cougars in straight sets on Saturday night. Where Jonathan Sloane led the attack for the Manitobans in a losing effort, it was fellow middle Dan Boutwell producing in the win. While outside Ben Glue had more points (14), it was Boutwell who was the more efficient hitter, converting 8 of 11 attempts and amassing 11 points overall.
#10 Saskatchewan Huskies (1-7)
The one-win Huskies didn't have an opportunity to improve their record this past weekend, as they enjoyed a bye week. Their season gets back underway on Friday night, when the Huskies open a two-game set on the road in Brandon.