Marauders stay alive in CIS volleyball showdown


After suffering a tough loss to third-seeded Brandon in the quarter-finals on Friday, the No. 6 McMaster Marauders rebounded on Saturday (March 5) with a 3-1 win (25-22, 23-25, 25-16, 25-16) over the New Brunswick Varsity Reds in the first consolation game of the Canadian Interuniversity Sports men’s volleyball championship, at the Langley Events Centre.

The Ontario University Athletics champion Marauders will get a shot a fifth place in the country while the loss for the Atlantic University Sports champion V-Reds, ended their season.

The Marauders came out with the extra step in each set, possessing a lead at the first technical timeout on all four occasions.

McMaster was led largely by Tyson Alexander, who had 12 kills, 10 blocks and was good on 58.8 per cent of his attack, Kevin Stevens, who finished with 14 kills and Austin Campion-Smith, who had 46 assists.

“This was a very difficult match to prepare for but I thought we made the most of it,” said McMaster coach Dave Preston talking about recovering from their 3-1 semifinal loss to Brandon. “You have to give credit to our guys. I thought they did an outstanding job of staying on task in their preparations even though the parameters around that match were extremely different than what we had prepared for all season.

“And Tyson Alexander was outstanding. For a guy who’s kind of still learning the ropes in this game, he played really well.”

New Brunswick’s Dan McMorran, who on Wednesday night was named the CIS coach of the year, said: “We came out a little bit better today. In the first couple of sets, we decided to wait a little bit until they had 16-12 and 17-11 leads, even in the set we won, before we realized a sense of urgency. It was a better performance. It still wasn’t the execution we wanted today but the guys came out better.”

The opening set saw McMaster start the much stronger of the two teams as they raced out to a 5-0 lead and set the tone for the rest of the set. New Brunswick struggled to find any consistency as they gave the Marauders four of their first points via errors.

From there, the Varsity Reds were never able to take the lead as McMaster’s Stevens and his six kills helped the Marauders to a 25-23 win.

In the second set, the game was once again dictated by McMaster in the early going as they took a lead into the opening break. And as the Marauders continued to push their advantageous agenda through the middle stages it looked like the Ontario champions would take the second set in decisive fashion.

But with McMaster up 22-17, the Varsity Reds finally got rolling. And did they ever.

With Jacob Kilpatrick leading the charge from the serving line, UNB went on a game-turning run that saw them score eight of the next nine points to win their first CIS national championship set in more than 30 years.

“We went on a nice 8-1 run,” McMorran said. “We served a little tougher. We made a couple of exceptional plays defensively and our block, which has been one of our strengths all season, was finally getting into some synchronicity there so we were able battle and win a close one.”

With momentum back on the side of UNB, the Varsity Reds looked primed to build upon their second set rally in the third frame. Quickly UNB took a 3-1 lead in the third set, but their advantage was short-lived.

The Marauders tied it up with two straight points and, like the first two sets, once again took the lead by the first technical timeout.

McMaster went on to win a dominant 25-16 set win as this time they didn’t allow UNB any hope of a comeback.

The fourth set was a mirror image of the third set as McMaster took a lead early and quickly pushed the game out of reach en route to a 16-10 lead, which was exactly what they had in the third set, and eventually a 25-16 win.

The Marauders had 12 blocks to New Brunswick’s 10 but the difference was most obvious in the overall hitting percentage where McMaster hit at 23.8 per cent compared to UNB at 8.7 per cent.

The Varsity Reds were led by Julio Fernandez, who had 11 kills and eight digs, and Jacob Kilpatrick, who had eight kills, three aces and five blocks.

STAT LEADERS

McMaster

Kills : Kevin Stevens (14), Tyson Alexander (12), Shayne Petrusma (10), Brendan Dennis (10)Points: Tyson Alexander (19), Kevin Stevens (17)
Blocks: Tyson Alexander (11)
Digs: Kevin Stevens (12)
Service aces: Shayne Petrusma (1), Tyson Alexander (1)
Assists: Austin Campion-Smith (46)

Player of the match: Tyson Alexander

UNB

Kills: Julio Fernandez (11), Jacob Kilpatrick (8), John Sheehan (6), Tyler Veenhuis (6)
Points: Jacob Kilpatrick (14), Julio Fernandez (13)
Blocks: John Sheehan (6), Jacob Kilpatrick (5)
Digs: Kyle Blanchard (12)
Service aces: Jacob Kilpatrick (3)
Assists: Stephane Fontaine (33)

Player of the match: Julio Fernandez