After a thrilling come-from-behind win on Saturday, the 3rd ranked Red River College men’s team looked like they were still recovering from such a long and draining five set match on Sunday. The host Pilots – having just seen their women’s team pull out a gritty comeback win, riling up their fans – took very little time in jumping on the Rebels.
At almost any given point in the match the Rebels looked tired. By the time they looked ready to play at the level of the high flying Providence squad, the Pilots were already well ahead in the second set after winning the first by 8 points.
Jarnell Taylor Babb and Tyson Griffiths both got the Rebels’ offense through the partial holes they could find in the Pilots’ huge block, a feature of the PUC’s that made them so stifling all season. But the outstanding play of PUC’s Boston Pizza Player of the Game, middle Hans Fehr, along with the springs of 2016’s Most Valuable Player Erik Weibe and the 2016 Champonship’s Most Valuable Player Sam Toews…well let’s just say it wasn’t easy.
When RRC dug deep and mounted what resistance they could to get past the 20 mark in the 3rd set, Providence made them play absolutely perfect in order to scrape any more points from them. By this time the crowd was borderline docile as the men’s final would not feature the same type of excitement found in the women’s. It was however a great look at one extremely well-coached team meeting a gutsy powerhouse trying to defend their title. The Pilots eventually ended the third set at 25-22.
“You could tell Red River was tired from the game last night”, says Wiebe, “but that didn’t affect our game plan. We just went out there and played our best game and rallied around each other”.
When asked about what other teams now know about PUC’s 2016 campaign, Toews first states the obvious.
“I hope they remember our offense. I think that we’re just a strong all-around team and we could compete with anyone, I guess”.
“I think his defence is standout as well. He’s very good in the back row and passing…he’s very all round and that’s hard to find”.
Setter Zac McCarthy was named Player of the Game for Red River College after getting the thankless task of setting the right side block against both Wiebe and Toews. The last time a school won both the men’s and women’s divisions of the volleyball Championship was two years ago when The University of Winnipeg College swept.