Resilient Vancouver Island University squad responds to early deficits
Mikayla Wagner's cross-court kill sent the Vancouver Island University (VIU) Mariners to the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association women's volleyball final.
"It was a pretty sweet feeling, just going up for it and swinging as hard as I can," the second-year player said Friday. "It's an unreal feeling. I just looked at my setter and my captain and gave them a big hug."
The Mariners defeated the Humber Hawks 3-0 (27-25, 25-17, 25-16) in semifinal play. They meet les Elans de Garneau tonight at 8 p.m. in the championship game.
It didn't look like the Mariners would be advancing early in the semifinal.
They trailed twice by seven points in the first set, including 20-13, but would outscore the Hawks 14-5 to capture the opener.
Mariners head coach Shayne Hyde said his players were trying to do too much and it resulted in errors.
"We just challenged them to be better," he said.
And the young, resilient group from the West Coast responded.
They fell behind 13-9 in the second set before going on a 16-4 run to take a commanding 2-0 lead. They jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the deciding set and never looked back.
"When we play that gritty style, we can beat anybody," Hyde said.
He noted the Marines were pushed to the limit in its opening game with the Briercrest Clippers and it helped them.
"We just built off what we did the day before. We were down 19-9 and we came back," he said of Thursday's contest.
While on paper it was the sixth-seeded Mariners knocking off No. 2 Humber, VIU was a top-ranked team all season but was upset by the College Of The Rockies Avalanche in its conference playoffs.
"We're a good team, they're a good team and we just didn't play our best today," Humber head coach Chris Wilkins said. "Hats off to VIU, they did what they were supposed to do."
Andrea Canovic was the Mariners player of the game after collecting eight kills, six digs
and two aces. Brittany Vanderlaan took the Hawks honour with four digs.
The Hawks still have plenty to play for.
They meet the host Holland College Hurricanes today at 10 a.m. with a berth in the bronze-medal match on the line.
The Hawks finished fourth in 2015 and is looking for its first national medal.
"We're a good enough team to be playing for a medal," Hyde said. "We'll be ready for Holland tomorrow."
He pointed to the team's passing as an area that needs to improve today.
Garneau 3 King's 1
Top-ranked les Élans de Garneau defeated the fifth-seeded King's University Eagles 3-1 (19-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-11) to book a spot in tonight's final.
Noemie Daigneault was Garneau's player of the game with 16 kills, nine digs and four aces. Keri Alcorn took the honours for the Eagles with a team-leading 12 kills, 12 digs and three service aces.
Briercrest 3 Mount Saint Vincent 1
The Briercrest Clippers advanced to the bronze semifinal game by defeating the Mount Saint Vincent Mystics 3-1 (25-20, 20-25, 25-20, 25-22).
Mikayla Reinhardt, who filled the stat sheet with 12 kills and 14 digs to go along with two aces, was the Clippers player of the game. The Mystics player of the game was Christina Day, who had seven kills and 11 digs.