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Canada West conference maintained its supremacy at volleyball nationals

The Canada West (CW) conference maintained its supremacy in volleyball, and two curling teams executed a pair of delayed repeats.

When one thinks of a dynasty, they may imagine a string of consecutive championship victories, but the Trinity Western Spartans men’s volleyball crew is challenging that notion.

On Sunday at the 2023 U Sports men’s volleyball championship in Hamilton, Ont., the Spartans needed just three sets to dispatch the No. 4 seed Sherbrooke Vert et Or (25-16, 25-20, 25-15) — Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) champion.

The victory secured the Spartans their fourth national championship in the last six tournaments dating back to 2017 (nationals weren’t held in 2020 or 2021 due to COVID-19), and Sunday’s match marked the seventh consecutive championship final that Trinity Western has played in.

The road to the final started on Friday with a tight three-set win over the No. 6 Montreal Carabins (26-24, 25-19, 29-27), with a kill by fourth-year Brodie Hofer securing the win.

Trinity Western followed up their quarterfinal victory with a four-set triumph over the host McMaster Marauders by battling back from a 1-0 hole (25-27, 25-20, 25-21, 25-21), the only set they lost in the tournament.

Third-year Mathias Elser recorded 43 of his 107 assists in the tournament against McMaster, leading all athletes with 10.7 assists per set en route to tournament MVP honours.

The Marauders ended up rebounding in the bronze-medal match, taking down No. 1 seed and defending national champion Alberta in three sets, who were coming off of a 3-0 loss to Sherbrooke in the semifinals.

UBC stuns defending women’s volleyball champ

In the 2023 U Sports women’s volleyball championship in Vancouver, the CW conference predictably won another national title, although the result itself was unexpected.

Despite winning their record 13th national title — six more than any other school — the No. 7 UBC Thunderbirds were unquestionably the underdogs entering their thrilling victory over No. 1 seed and defending champion Trinity Western (25-23, 22-25, 21-25, 25-18, 15-12).

The 2,089 crowd at War Memorial Gym did their part in cheering on the hometown Thunderbirds, with tournament MVP Elise Petit appropriately ending the game with a kill.

The fifth-year led all players with 20 kills in the final, ranking second overall in the tournament in both kills and total attacks.

UBC started their tournament with a four-set quarterfinal victory over the No. 2 Brock Badgers (18-25, 25-19, 27-25, 25-20).

The tournament was nearly over before it began for the Thunderbirds, but numerous digs by fourth-year libero Kacey Jost kept UBC from going down 2-1 to the OUA champs. All-tournament team selection Jost recorded at least 20 digs in each match, including UBC’s four-set victory over the CW bronze medalist Manitoba Bisons (20-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-14).

Steve Carr

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