by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips
Heading into the final day at the 2018-2019 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Women's Volleyball Championships Saturday, the Briercrest College Clippers and The Kings University Eagles were hoping to do what Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) women's volleyball teams had done only four times since 1977-1978.
Claim two medals at the CCAA Women's Volleyball Championships.
Last time it was done was in 2013-2014 when the Red Deer Queens defeated the Grande Prairie Regional College Wolves 25-17, 25-21, 25-19 in the gold medal match held in Toronto, Ontario and hosted by Seneca College.
This time around the 2018-2019 medal rounds are being held in Welland, Ontario and hosted by the Niagara College Knights of the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA).
The ACAC Champion Eagles are out for gold, spiking against the Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST) VIU Mariners from Nanaimo, BC while the Clippers (ACAC Wild Card) go for bronze versus the OCAA Fanshawe Falcons from London, Ontario.
|Jada Lea (#15) & Sydney Warchola (#6), The King's University Eagles|
Neither ACAC team has ever medaled at the CCAA Women's Volleyball Championships.
GOLD MEDAL GAME
Kings Eagles 0 VIU Mariners 3 25-18, 25-11, 25-16
The Kings, from Edmonton, Alberta and under the leadership of head coach Grace Scott, are pitted against CCAA Women's Volleyball defending champion VIU Mariners.
The Mariners have proven to be a powerhouse in the last decade, with three gold, A silver and two bronze since 2010.
Mariners were ranked No. 1 in the final CCAA polls while the Eagles were No. 2.
The rankings would hold true to form as the Mariners would win in three straight sets 25-18. 25-11, 25-16.
Jayden Bontkes had 10 kills and 13 digs for the Eagles who had 27 team kills compared to 43 for VIU.
The silver medal was the second ever CCAA medal for the Eagles, the first coming just a few hours earlier at the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus in Truro, Nova Scotia when Eagles' Narayan Ramdhani earned a bronze medal at the 2018-2019 CCAA Badminton Championships.
The silver would be a topping for the Eagles program and Athletic Director Grace Scott, who also coaches these same Eagles women's volleyball team.
"In Alberta it is so tough, be it volleyball or basketball, to get out of our conference," said Scott, who was also honoured as the 2018-2019 ACAC and CCAA Women's Volleyball Coach of the Year. "We had the privilege to go to nationals and the girls responded and were able to see all of their hard work come to fruition."
"To get to the final match and take on a strong team like VIU and come back with the silver medal is so exciting for our program and Kings overall."
"It kind of paves the way for other teams. Letting them know that they too can get to nationals and do well."
|Brynelle Barrs (#13), The King's University Eagles|
The Mariners are now five-time CCAA champions in Women's Volleyball (2019, 2018, 2016, 2012 and 2008).
Kings opened the tournament Thursday going the five-set match distance against the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association champion MSVU Mystics 23-25, 25-12, 25-18, 23-25 and 15-6.
Kings had a whopping 70 kills in the match compared to 49 by the Mystics.
Eagles' Anna Janzen had an incredible 28 kills and Jayden Bontkes added 22. Sydney Warchola had 8 blocks which was three more than the entire opponents total at the net.
In their semi-final confrontation Friday, it was a 25-18, 21-25, 25-17, 25-18 decision against the PACWEST Douglas Royals from New Westminster, BC.
Bontkes recorded 27 kills and Jada Lea had 45 assists.
BRONZE MEDAL GAME
Briercrest Clippers 0 Fanshawe Falcons 3 25-19, 25-18, 25-22
Fans in Caronport, Saskatchewan were no doubt tuning in to the bronze medal game on the internet as the Clippers squared off against the OCAA Fanshawe Falcons.
History will not be repeated a fifth time for ACAC teams doubling up on CCAA medals, in that the match goes three straight sets for the Falcons 19-25, 18-25, 22-25.
"It was a great experience for them. We had a tough first round and a bounce back match the next day," said Briercrest coach Nolan Weinmaster.
"It was a great tournament for our three veteran leaders Becky Garner (4th year, BA Humanities, Surrey, B.C.), setter Ashley Erickson (4th year, BA Business Administration, Waldheim, Saskatchewan) and our libero Kirsty Kindrachuk (4th year, BA Psychology, Speers, Saskatchewan)."
Clippers' Becky Garner had 11 kills and 9 digs in the bronze medal game.
Falcons dominated on the attack with Janelle Albert and Meghan Morelli recording 15 and 13 kills respectively of the teams 40 total compared to 30 for the Clippers.
According to the CCAA website "The Falcons picked up their first CCAA Women's Volleyball medal in program history with the win."
To advance to the bronze medal game, the Clippers beat the Douglas Royals 3-1 this morning 25-19, 25-18, 22-25, 26-24 with Gardner once again on the attack with 19 kills.
Briercrest had opened the national event with a 3-2 loss 19-25, 14-25, 25-14, 25-20, 4-15 to Cavaliers de Bois-de-Boulogne from the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ)
Garner had 15 kills in a losing cause.
|Justine Collins (#11) & Kirsty Kindrachuk (#2),
Briercrest College Clippers
They came back Friday to shutout OCAA Niagara Knights 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-15) with Garner sparking the attacks with 16 kills and 9 digs.
Garner was presented with the Exemplary Leadership Award.
First Team All Stars included: Eagles' Jayden Bontkes and Jada Lea while Second Team All-Star status went to Eagles' Sydney Warchola and Anna Janzen. Clippers' Kirsty Kindrachuk was also named to the second team.
The ACAC has now medaled at the CCAA Women's Volleyball Championships for 36 years out of a possible 42 times.