Familiar foes reunited in a face-off of the ages for the CCAA National Championship Gold Medal match in men’s Volleyball as the #1 ranked UBC Okanagan Heat squared off against the 6th seeded Columbia Bible College Bearcats. The Heat fell short of their title aspirations, eventually falling to the Bearcats in a 3 set sweep (29-31, 15-25, 26-28). The Heat forced deuce in the first and third sets, narrowly dropping either, in a matchup where every serve and every play counted. The second set drubbing came at the hands of numerous mistakes, most notably from several service errors that turned into easy points for the Bearcats.
Greg Neimantsverdriet was named the Heat’s Player of the Match, doing most of the offensive heavy lifting while fellow heavy hitter Nate Speijer was keyed on from the CBC blockers. Neimantsverdriet and Speijer were also named to the second Team Tournament All-Star roster for their consistent shredding of opposing blocks. The lone Heat Fourth year player, setter Preston Tucker and Outside Hitter Mark Broome, found themselves named to the 1st Team Tournament All-Star squad. Tucker was also named the CCAA Player of the Year and was an SIRC-CCAA All-Canadian alongside Speijer at the National Awards banquet this past Wednesday.
With late teammate Jordan Young not travelling to Sherbrooke with them due to a tragic vehicle accident last week, the team was initially shell shocked but found their focus re-invigorated, going on an unprecedented tear to the Final. “It is tough to win it all when in less than week we weren’t sure to even take the team[to the championship],” adds an emotional head coach Greg Poitras.
Though decidedly downing the Bearcats 3 sets to 1 in front of a home crowd for the BCCAA Championships, the Heat found the challenge of facing their co-representatives from BC a different animal while in neutral territory. Greg thinks the team is still in shock but boasts that he is, “very proud of my team and the year they had. CBC had to play their best. And they did. It really is quite the story we made it that far with the loss of one of our best friends.”
The Men failed to realized their aspirations during their final year of contention in Canadian Collegiate Athletics, but still bring home a Silver Medal and further experience to a team that is clearly ready for their transition to the Canada Inter-University Sport (CIS), having been accepted into the Canada West division. The Heat will not lose any of their roster due to graduation so many if not all members of the team will make the return next season.
For the National Tournament Website visit: http://www.ccaamensvolleyball2011.ca/
Full tournament Schedule:
1. University of British Columbia-Okanagan
2. Briercrest College
3. Cegep de Sherbrooke
4. Red Deer College
5. Humber College
6. Columbia Bible College
7. Cegep Limoilou
8. University of King’s College
The schedule is as follows:
Thursday March 10
Game #1 12pm – UBCO vs UKC
Game # 2 2pm – Red Deer vs Humber
Game # 3 6pm – Sherbrooke vs Columbia Bible
Game # 4 8pm – Briercrest vs Limoilou
Friday March 11
Game # 5 12pm – UKC vs Red Deer
Game # 6 2pm – Sherbrooke vs Limoilou
Game # 7 6pm – Heat vs Humber (semi-final)
Game # 8 8pm – Briercrest vs Columbia Bible 4 (semi-final)
Saturday March 12
Game # 9 10am – HUMBER COLLEGE vs CÉGEP LIMOILOU
Game # 10 12pm – RED DEER COLLEGE vs BRIERCREST COLLEGE AND SEMINARY
Game # 11 2pm – UNIVERSITY OF KING’S COLLEGE vs CÉGEP DE SHERBROOKE
Game # 12 5pm – Winners of game 9 & 10 (Bronze Medal)
Game # 13 7pm – HEAT vs COLUMBIA BIBLE COLLEGE (Gold Medal)