Print Edition: March 13, 2013
The Cascades came into the CCAA Women’s Volleyball National Championship in familiar territory – once again they were heavy favourites to win every game. The tournament was hosted by Lloydminster, Alberta’s Lakeland College and featured teams representing four provinces from across Canada. With the elimination of previous power houses: VIU and Douglas College in the PACWEST playoffs, the door was open for new finalists in this year’s competition.
The Cascades opened up the competition with a quarter-final matchup Thursday, against the Mount Saint Vincent University Mystics from Halifax, Nova Scotia. MSVU, much like UFV, had been dominant all season. The Mystics came into the game undefeated thus far with an 18-0 league record and an Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) trophy in their back pocket. This was a clash of East versus West as both teams geared for their toughest opponent yet.
UFV managed to finish on top in each of the first two sets by close scores of 25-23 and 25-22, building a crucial early lead and leaving MSVU with the daunting task of having to win the next three sets in a row. The Mystics were able to pull one back as they won the third set 25-21, but that was as close as they would come. UFV closed out the match with a 25-20 fourth set win to slot themselves into Friday’s semi-final matchups. Jenna Evans had a great all-around game for the Cascades, finishing with 11 digs, four aces, and 12 kills. Brittany Stewart also had an impressive game-high 23 digs for UFV.
Next up for the Cascades was another division winner from the RSEQ, Collège François-Xavier-Garneau. Garneau was 15-1 in league play and was coming off a 3-1 win over NAIT (Northern Alberta Institute of Technology) in the quarter-finals. For the first time in championship play this season, UFV was faced with an early deficit as Garneau jumped out to a 25-19 first set win. The set loss proved to be a quick wake-up call for UFV, who came out firing in the next set winning 25-13. The next two sets also went to UFV by scores of 25-17 and 25-22. Kayla Bruce had a strong performance offensively for the Cascades by contributing 13 kills, eight blocks, and four aces. Krista Hogewoning had a game high 14 kills. The win placed UFV in the championship final Saturday night against host team Lakeland College.
Lakeland finished 17-3 in ACAC play this season and had only lost one set in their previous two matches in the tournament. UFV and Lakeland had not previously faced each other during the season; however, the Cascades were the consensus favourites to come out on top. The game was a one-sided affair for the two first sets as UFV dominantly won each set with scores of 25-12 and 25-10. Lakeland came up with more fight in the third set, but could only get up to 20 points and UFV closed the match with a 25-20 win. Kira Tome was named player of the game, providing several key assists. Kayla Bruce and Jenna Evans lead the surge offensively with 11 and seven kills respectively.
UFV’s Jenna Evans was given the tournament MVP honours while Kayla Bruce and Brittany Stewart were named tournament First Team All-Stars. Katie Bilodeau was also named a Second Team All-Star.
Winning it all at the CCAA national championship is a fitting ending to what has been a season to remember for UFV women’s volleyball. Dominance is something that the Cascades became accustomed to throughout the year. They have brought home a league title, a PACWEST championship trophy, and now a CCAA national championship trophy. Dennis Bokenfohr has implemented a winning tradition in here at UFV, as the coach to a phenomenal group of student athletes. Congratulations ladies!