TORONTO (U SPORTS) – The Canada West silver medalist No. 2 Trinity Western Spartans will open their 2019 U SPORTS men’s volleyball championship tournament against the No.7 McMaster University Marauders this Friday evening.
First serve of the 2019 U SPORTS Men’s Volleyball Championship Presented by Hôtel Universel Quebec, hosted by the Laval Rouge et Or in Quebec City, flies on Friday at the Amphithéâtre Desjardins-Université Laval. The tournament concludes next Sunday with the championship final at 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT. All games livestreamed at USPORTS.LIVE
No. 1 Brandon Bobcats
Playoff Finish: Canada West champions
Regular Season/playoff records: 20-2 / 5-1
Last U SPORTS Championship: Never
Kills per set: Elliot Viles, 3.37
Blocks per set: Mason Metcalf, 1.25
Assists per set: Reece Dixon, 11.15
Digs per set: Reece Dixon, 2.08
No. 2 Trinity Western Spartans
Playoff finish: Canada West finalists
Regular season / playoff records: 18-4 / 4-2
Last U SPORTS championship: 2017
Total U SPORTS championships: 5
Kills per set: Eric Loeppky, 3.59
Blocks per set: Aaron Boettcher, 1.20
Assists per set: Derek Epp, 9.74
Digs per set: Carter Bergen, 2.09
The Trinity Western Spartans will play in the U SPORTS championship tournament for the 10thyear in a row, having also earned a spot in the Canada West title game for the eighth straight season. The Spartans spent three weeks atop the U SPORTS rankings this year. The team dropped as low as No. 4 in mid-January before climbing to No. 2 for the final five weeks of the season.
The Spartans were led by Canada West First Team All-Stars Eric Loeppky and Jacob Kern, as both dominated on the attack and from the service line. Along with TWU’s leading duo, the Spartans middle contingent of Aaron Boettcher, Jackson Howe and Pearce Eshenko proved to be amongstthe most dominant in the country, helping TWU average 2.65 blocks per set (2nd in CW). Setter Derek Epp finished the year third in CW with 9.74 assists per set, while libero Carter Bergen averaged 2.09 digs per set (9th in CW). The Spartans also finished second in CW in hitting percentage (.325), aces per set (1.92) and points per set (16.9).
No. 3 Laval Rouge et Or
Playoff finish: RSEQ champions / hosts
Regular season / playoff records: 16-0 / 4-0
Last U SPORTS championship: 2013
Total U SPORTS championships: 4
Kills per set: Vicente Ignacio Parraguirre Villalobos, 4.74
Blocks per set: Jean-Benoit Gagné, 0.86
Assists per set: Ethan Ellison, 10.19
Digs per set: Rémi Cadoret, 3.11
The Rouge et Or men’s volleyball team had their first perfect regular season since the 2012-13 campaign, when Laval won its last national title. On their path to a 16-0 record, the team led by the RSEQ coach of the year, Pascal Clément, has lost four of the 52 sets played in the regular season in a revamped conference with the addition of UNB and Dalhousie from the AUS. Outside hitter Vicente Parraguirre, was named the RSEQ’s most valuable player for the fifth year in a row, a first in the conference’s history. Parraguirre has dominated U SPORTS on offence with an impressive .448 hitting percentage, in addition to being second in kills per set (4.74). During the playoffs, the Rouge et Or easily swept the Dalhousie Tigers in two games. Then Laval got its revenge against the Montreal Carabins, who beat them in last year’s RSEQ final, to earn their 20th provincial title in the past 22 years.
No. 4 Mount Royal Cougars
Playoff finish: Canada West semifinalists / At-large berth
Regular season / playoff records: 15-7 / 3-2
Last U SPORTS championship: Never
Kills per set: Tyler Schmidt, 4.61
Blocks per set: Scott Gieske, 1.01
Assists per set: Tanner Greves, 9.56
Digs per set: Jonathan Phillips, 2.63
No. 5 Alberta Golden Bears
Playoff finish: Canada West quarterfinalists / at-large berth
Regular season / playoff records: 17-5 / 0-2
Last U SPORTS championship: 2015
Total U SPORTS championships: 8
Kills per set: Taryq Sani, 3.73
Blocks per set: Jacob Deinum, 0.87
Assists per set: Max Elgert, 9.28
Digs per set: Jared Schubert, 1.84
Despite failing to qualify for the conference semifinal for the first time since 1988, the Golden Bears advanced to the U SPORTS Championship for the 19th straight season.
The Golden Bears finished third in Canada West with a 17-5 record, and were continually ranked inside the top seven in the U SPORTS rankings. However a poor showing in the quarterfinal against Thompson Rivers saw them get swept 2-0 at home.
Alberta has captured eight national titles, seven of which under Terry Danyluk, and are looking for their first since winning back-to-back in 2014 and 2015.
The Bears are led by fifth-year First Team All-Star Alex McMullin, who finished the season as one of only five Bears ever to finish their career with 1,000 kills. Third-year Taryq Sani also finished with another all-star season, leading the team with 3.73 kills per set.
No. 6 Queens Gaels
Playoff finish: OUA champions
Regular season / playoff records: 15-3 / 3-0
Last U SPORTS championship: Never
Kills per set: Zac Hutcheson, 3.64
Blocks per set: Dylan Hunt, 0.65
Assists per set: Zane Grossinger, 9.97
Digs per set: Joel Rudd, 1.88
No. 7 McMaster Marauders
Playoff finish: OUA finalists
Regular season / playoff records: 15-2 / 2-1
Last U SPORTS championship: Never
Kills per set: Matt Passalent, 3.97
Blocks per set: Bennett Swan, 0.74
Assists per set: David Doty, 9.54
Digs per set: Jordan Pereira, 2.10
No. 8 Montreal Carabins
Playoff finish: RSEQ finalists
Regular season / playoff records: 12-4 / 2-2
Last U SPORTS championship: 1970
Total U SPORTS championships: 1
Kills per set: Youssef Baati, 3.29
Blocks per set: Mathieu Lassonde, 1.38
Assists per set: Gabriel Chancy, 9.54
Digs per set: Yassine Kassis, 2.65
The Montreal Carabins went 12-4 on the season, finishing second in the RSEQ. Setter Gabriel Chancy was once again an important part of the team’s offensive success, with the law student also excelling in several other aspects of the game.
He recorded 16 aces, the second highest total on Montreal. On defence, he tallied an average of 1.94 digs per set, placing him second on the team. Despite several rookies and second-year players in the lineup, the Carabins managed to qualify for the national championship for a second consecutive year.
Thursday, Mar. 14
All-Canadian Awards Breakfast, 7:30 a.m. ET / 4:30 a.m. PT
Friday, Mar. 15 (Quarterfinals)
No. 1 Brandon vs. No. 8 Montreal, 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT
No. 4 Mount Royal vs. No. 5 Alberta, 3 p.m. ET / 12 p.m. PT
No. 2 Trinity Western vs. No. 7 McMaster, 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT
No. 3 Laval vs. No. 6 Queen’s, 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT
Full championship schedule available here.
- TWU is a perfect 5-0 against McMaster at the U SPORTS national championships.
- The Spartans beat the Marauders 3-1 in last year’s semi-final at McMaster University in Hamilton.
- The last time TWU met McMaster in the opening round was in 2007 in Hamilton, with the Spartans winning 3-2.
- TWU lost to Brandon 3-2 in the Canada West final, while McMaster lost to Queens 3-2 in the OUA final.
No. 2 TWU faces No. 7 McMaster Friday at 3 p.m. PT at the Amphithéâtre Desjardins-Université Laval in Quebec City. Winner will advance to play winner of No. 3 Laval vs. No. 6 Queen’s. Games can be seen live on USPORTS/live
About Spartan Athletics
As official members of U SPORTS, the Spartans currently compete in 10 sports in the Canada West conference, including women’s and men’s soccer, volleyball, basketball, cross country and track & field. TWU also competes in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) in men’s hockey. Since TWU entered U SPORTS in 1999, the Spartans have won 11 U SPORTS team championships and 25 Canada West team championships.