The Mohawk Mountaineers hopes for a national title were dashed at the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association Men’s Volleyball Championship at Humber College in Etobicoke. The Mountaineers, seeded number five, won the first set, but then dropped their semifinal match 3-1 to top-rated Mount Royal Cougars of Calgary on Saturday night (March 8). Mount Royal won 24-26, 25-22, 25-15, 27-25.
Mohawk’s player of the match, CCAA Player of the Year Jasmin Cull, scored 32 points, including 27 kills, two stuff blocks and three service aces. Kevin Watson had eight kills, one block and one ace for 10 points, while Steve Pawelczyk added nine points on seven kills, one block and one ace.
In their semi-final match-up, the Mohawk Mountaineers came out firing on all cylinders as they came away with an exiting 27-25 first set win. It was the Jasmin Cull show in the first frame as the Mount Royal defense had no answer for the CCAA Player of the Year with the opening set headed for extra points. Cull’s 32 points in the match would give him the lead of the championship scoring race with 54 total points.
Mount Royal managed to put things together in the second set as they evened things up with a 25-22 victory. The Cougars turned up the pressure in the final stages managing to surge ahead to the three-point victory.
With the match all square at 1-1, Mohawk fell apart in the third set committing costly errors and losing their cool. With a timeout called at 13-8, Mohawk head coach James Bradley was shown a yellow card for arguing with officials, costing Mohawk another point. Mount Royal continued to apply the pressure in the game as Calgary native Andrew Visser finished off the Mountaineers on what was described as a “laser beam kill” to take the set 25-15 and a 2-1 lead.
Looking to rebound after their disastrous third set, Mohawk came out looking sharp as they doubled up the Cougars 8-4 early in the game. After Mount Royal rallied to tie the game at nines, Mohawk turned up the pressure once again as they regained their four point advantage at 17-13.
Cue the comeback. The Alberta Champions found a way to tie the game which would remain all even up until 25-25. After a Jason Derooca kill gave Mount Royal an opportunity to serve for the match, the Cougars would find a way to get the ball into Allen Meek’s hands who would go on to bury a kill that would send Mount Royal to the gold medal finals. The final set score in the set was 27-25 giving the Cougars the 3-1 victory.
Meek’s final kill was one of 17 on the night as he was named Mount Royal’s player of the game. Cull earned the honour for Mohawk.
The Mountaineers are not finished, however. They will now shoot for a bronze medal Sunday against Malaspina Mariners of Nanaimo B.C. In the bronze semi final.
Mount Royal will meet the University of British Columbia Okanagan Lakers of Kelowna B.C for the gold medal.