When it comes to MCAC Volleyball, the University of Winnipeg College Wesmen sit above the rest, as both the men and women’s Wesmen teams can now call themselves MCAC Volleyball Champions.
Up against two MCAC dynasties, the College Wesmen put an end to the three-year reign of the Providence women’s team, and prevented the Red River College men from winning six championships in seven years, to start a reign of their own as the two best volleyball teams in the MCAC. In front of a packed crowd at Canadian Mennonite University, the College Wesmen made a statement, putting on two incredible championship matches on Saturday, in what will go down as one of the most exciting championships in recent memory.
The women of the College Wesmen played a tight match against Providence, beating them in four hotly contested sets (25-22. 25-21, 17-25, 25-22). On the men’s side, the College Wesmen avenged last season’s five-set loss against Red River in the championships, defeating the Rebels in a five-set thriller of their own (25-17, 25-21, 20-25, 22-25, 16-14).
The men’s match certainly didn’t feel like it was going to be as exciting as it was after the first set. The College Wesmen controlled the play for most of it, with the set never really being in doubt.
The second ended up being a bit of different story, with Red River mounting an offense orchestrated by setter Bobby Neufeld, clearly picking up the pace from the first set. However, set number two also saw the emergence of regular season MVP Nathaniel Therrien, who started rolling with some big kills at key times to help his team get up to a two-set lead.
Red River College found their stride in the third, led by a charge from Player of the Game Kevin Bommersbach, who put his team on his back with a high-energy offense that the College Wesmen couldn’t contain. The Rebels continued rolling into the fourth, with some supplementary offense from the likes of Zac Duncan and Mitch Henry to go along with another dominant set from Bommersbach, and things began to look grim for a College Wesmen team who seemed to have things under control early on.
However, in the championship set, the College Wesmen showed what they were made of, coming back from a five point deficit in the fifth, led by an incredible late set charge from team veteran Stefan Dirks. Despite another very strong set from Red River, this was simply the College Wesmen’s night as they took the fifth in extra points, 16-14 to take home the MCAC Championship.
In the women’s final, it was clear that these were the two best teams the MCAC has to offer, and the product was a great volleyball game. With these two teams tied for first place at the end of the MCAC season, this matchup was as even as it gets on paper, but it was the College Wesmen’s drive to dethrone the champs that put them over the top in this championship final.
The first set was a battle, with both teams trading blows throughout, keeping the game close and the tensions high. For Providence, it was Player of the Game, Kate Osadchuk, who held a lot of weight for her team, providing hustle on defense, and making her way through the block for a few timely kills. But that was countered by Chloe Pommer who played a very clutch game, shifting momentum with some kills of her own.
In the second, we saw more of a dominant performance from the College Wesmen, as they held the lead for most of the set, led by a strong performance by Player of the Game, Amanda Armour. That dominance however, did not carry into the third, as Providence started to pour it on and show why they finished the season in first place.
The third set saw the Pilots start a well-rounded attack, with the whole starting line-up starting to click offensively. The tables definitely turned in this set, with Providence dominating 25-17, and it looked like we had a five set match on the horizon.
However, the College Wesmen came out in the fourth as determined as ever, led by some key serving from Devon Guenther, and some excellent hitting from Mackenzie Jeffrey. In this set, the College Wesmen showed the packed crowd why they deserved to be champions, and put on a performance they won’t soon forget, winning the set, the match, and the MCAC Championship.
There were a lot of outstanding players involved in these championships, but a couple stood out amongst the rest. For the women, the Final 4’s MVP went to Mackenzie Jeffrey, who was dominant at the net for the College Wesmen. On the men’s side, the regular season MVP Nathaniel Therrien continued with his strong play, and earned the award after an incredible final match.