The third seeded Brandon Bobcats defeated the sixth seeded McMaster Marauders 3-1 (25-15, 25-19, 25-21, 25-15) in the opening round of the 2011 Canadian Interuniversity Sport volleyball championship Friday (March 4) at Trinity Western University.
The Bobcats’ Kevin Miller rode the hit parade early and often as he led Brandon with 24 kills, while teammate Paul Sanderson had 17 kills to help the Canada West silver medalists to a convincing win. Brandon will now play Saturday’s semifinal against Laval.
After dominating the first two sets and keeping McMaster from hitting 20 points on both occasions, the Ontario champions roared back in the third set to give the Marauders life and hope. But after Brandon fell behind early in the fourth set, 5-2, Miller got a kill to get Brandon to within one point, then Sanderson went to the service line and crushed an ace and from there the Bobcats completely took over.
“We started well for sure,” said Brandon coach Russ Paddock. “We were good with serving and passing, which we needed to be. McMaster got into the game a little bit and started to pass better and put us in a little trouble on serve receive and started digging a bunch of ball, which made the game interesting in the third set.
“You always like to see them play a whole match all the way through but McMaster is a good team so they deserved to win that [third] set. But we were able to regroup and play like we did the first two.”
McMaster coach Dave Preston said: “We weren’t familiar enough with their speed and their physical presence. I think they outmatched us physically and it took us two sets to catch up. We pushed back [but] they finally pushed back in the fourth and that finished it.”
The Bobcats picked up right where they left off after their Canada West Final Four performance as they took the lead just before the first technical timeout and never relinquished it.
The first 10 points of the set provided a stalemate as both teams took five a piece. But that’s when Brandon took over. The Bobcats went on a 9-4 run, led by CIS First Team All-Star Sanderson who had a pair of kills, pulling out to a 14-9 advantage and beyond that were simply the better team.
With seven kills in the first set alone, Miller was the Bobcats spark as they slowly expanded their lead until finishing the set with a 10-point advantage at 25-15.
In the second set, it was nearly déjà vu.
The game was tight until the first technical break but then Brandon flexed its collective muscles.
Led by Miller, who had another six kills, the Bobcats took an 8-6 advantage and turned it into an identical 14-9 lead they possessed in the first set.
But McMaster wasn’t about to go away quietly as the Marauders battled back and managed to get within two points, 16-14. McMaster kept it close until 20-18, but was unable to get it any closer.
However, at that point, the Brandon effort that performed in the first set returned. With Sanderson getting two kills and Miller adding another one, the Manitoba club went on a 5-1 run to end the set and push itself to within one set win of a semifinal appearance.
But in the third set, McMaster came to life.
The Marauders got the first point of the set on a Tyson Alexander kill and never trailed throughout the set. Slowly they built a lead, with their longest runs only being a pair of three-point surges, and kept the Bobcats at arm’s length until the final score of 25-21.
After Brandon had five service aces to five service errors in the first two sets combined, the difference in a four-point third frame was the Bobcats had five service errors and zero aces. The Marauders also hit at a rate of 42.9 per cent in the third set compared to the 25.5 per cent they had hit in the first two sets combined.
“I thought when we started rolling we played some decent defence,” Preston said. “I thought we dug some balls and tried to make them make some shots that we could handle. We didn’t serve or pass very well and we didn’t put them under enough pressure from the baseline.”
And with momentum clearly on McMaster’s side, the Marauders got off to a quick start in the early stages of the fourth set, staking itself to a 5-2 lead.
But then Sanderson went to the service line and flipped the set upside down from its early course of action. The Bobcats got their groove back and only allowed McMaster to score 10 more points en route to a decisive 25-15 victory.
The Bobcats were led by Miller how had 24 kills and Sanderson who finished with 17 kills. Kyle Dellezay had a game-high 55 assists and Scott Neufeld had a game-high nine digs.
For McMaster Shayne Petrusma and Kevin Stevens each had 11 kills. Austin Campion-Smith had 39 assists and also a team-leading eight digs.
McMaster will play the University of New Brunswick in a consolation semi-final at 1 p.m. on Saturday (March 5).
Kills: Kevin Miller (24), Paul Sanderson (17), Dan Boutwell (9)
Points: Kevin Miller (26), Paul Sanderson (20)
Blocks: Brendan White (4)
Digs: Scott Neufeld (9)
Service aces: Paul Sanderson (2), Brendan White (2)
Assists: Kyle Dellezay (55)
Player of the match: Kevin Miller
Kills: Shayne Petrusma (11), Kevin Stevens (11), Tyler Santoni (8)
Points: Kevin Stevens (12.5), Shayne Petrusma (12)
Blocks: Tyson Alexander (3), Shayne Petrusma (2)
Digs: Austin Campion-Smith (8)
Service aces: Kevin Stevens (1), Tyson Alexander (1)
Assists: Austin Campion-Smith (39)
Player of the match: Kevin Stevens