UBC wins fourth straight CIS women’s volleyball title

The UBC Thunderbirds couldn’t have made Canadian women’s volleyball history any faster than it did Sunday at the University of Laval.

The three-time defending national champs swept past the host Rouge et Or in straight sets (25-16, 25-18, 25-14) in the CIS national final, not only winning for a fourth straight year but winning for a national record eighth time as a program.

The four straight titles is the second longest in CIS women’s history behind the six won by both Alberta and Winnipeg.

And the speed by which UBC powered through its opposition the rest of the weekend was equally impressive. The Birds dropped just one set, that being a 23-25 loss in the third set of a 3-1 win over Sherbrooke in Friday’s opening round.

By the time they dispatched Laval on Sunday, they had won seven straight sets at the nationals, including a 3-0 sweep of Alberta in Saturday’s national semifinals.

But UBC head coach Doug Reimer admitted that if his team hadn’t learned to cope with so many trying situations on the road to its first three titles, that trying to win a national title game in a hostile gym against the host team might have been too much.

“When you come in and win in a building that is going crazy, that is great,” said Reimer. “But if it has been our first national final, that might have been something that tipped the balance in their favour.”

Kyla Richey with 16 kills and CIS Player of the Year Shanice Marcelle with 13 led the winners, who later saw Jen Hinze named as the tournament MVP.

When asked if he had yet put into perspective the fact that his program had just won four straight nationals, and that the women’s program was now the most decorated in women’s university history, Reimer put it all into perspective, pointing out that the UBC women had played in 11 straight nationals and never won the title before beginning their current dynasty.

“Four years might seem like a long time,” he said, “but it’s not that long when you think of the number of years that we were always the bridesmaids and never the brides. That’s the perspective that I have right now, because it really makes you appreciate the fact that winning one of these things is not that easy.”

The Trinity Western Spartans topped Alberta 3-1 (25-14, 25-19, 18-25, 25-20) in the bronze medal match.

Article Source: The Province

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