The men’s top four team’s in the conference took the court at Red River College on Saturday to fight for their spot in the championship game.
All photos were taken by Lindsay Rowan.
#1 Providence University College Pilots
defeat #4 Red River College Rebels 3-1
The Red River Rebels came out swinging in the first set with new recruits Josh Goossen and Andrew Lysack leading the way. Goossen’s powerful kills on offence and Lysack’s defence at the net led to an early 15-7 lead forcing a Providence timeout. The Pilots made their run, but the Rebels stayed steady and took the first set 25-18.
The Pilots flipped the script early in the second set going up 8-4 before a Rebels timeout, but they never seemed to be able to pull away and take a commanding lead. Conference MVP Matthew Friesen had some monstrous plays down the stretch for the Pilots as they took the second 25-22.
The third set stayed close throughout with neither team able to together a significant run. The highlight plays were happening every rally and the crowd let them hear it. Pilots took it 25-21.
A high energy fourth set never saw a team take a lead larger than three until the very end with the Pilots taking it 25-21 and the match 3-1. Regardless of the outcome, the Rebels gave the top team a good scare.
Pilots setter Lucas Pappel and Rebels right-side Josh Goossen were named players of the game.
The Pilots move on to the championship tomorrow at 1:00.
#2 Canadian Mennonite University Blazers
defeat #3 Université de Saint-Boniface Les Rouges 3-2
The match continued to pick up the pace in the third with both sides attacking relentlessly. Les Rouges looked to have swung the momentum to their side, but the Blazers stuck with it and forced a tie at 20-20. Dornez was a monster down the stretch, connecting on four attacks in the last five points, and leading Les Rouges to a 25-21 third set victory.
The fifth and final set was everything the fans hoped for. The Blazers led 8-6 before switching sides and never looked back. A massive kill from Blazers left side Carter Hofer put his team back up two, 11-9, and focused a Les Rouges timeout. Both teams went back and forth exchanging kills out of the timeout until Dornez floated one long out of bounds that resulted in another timeout. Middle Colin Reimer shut it down at the net for point 14, and Mackenzie Hildebrand sent Les Rouges home with a final kill to give the Blazers a 15-11 victory.