The Alberta Golden Bears defeated a scrappy Queen’s Gaels side 3-1 in their quarter-final match of the TELUS 2018 U SPORTS Men’s Volleyball Championship on Friday afternoon.
Alberta advances to tomorrow’s semifinal game against UBC setting up a rematch of the Canada West semifinal game played two weeks ago, which saw UBC come out ahead 3-1. That match is set for 6:00 p.m. ET / 3:00 p.m. PT at host McMaster University.
The Golden Bears turned the tide of momentum several times to best the Gaels, securing the game with 25-19, 25-19 19-25, 25-23 set scores.
Alberta’s George Hobern had 10 kills on 12 attacks to earn player of the game honours, posting a .750 kill percentage and finishing with 12.5 points. Taryq Sani led the way for the Golden Bears, tallying 18 points in the win. Alex McMullin secured 16.5 points, while Arran Chambers also broke double digits in points collecting 13.5.
“We had a good showing in the first set,” said outside hitter Sani. “We came out strong, we had good serve receive, so that was a good start and that’s what we wanted to do coming into nationals. But, as the sets progressed, we started to let their momentum dictate our side of the floor and what we would do with each ball, and with that added tentativeness.
“We’re not satisfied. We always want to be playing the best we can. Although we did get the win, and we’re happy about that, I think that we still want more going into tomorrow.”
For Queen’s, Markus Trence had a top performance, registering 23.5 points, recording a game-high 20 kills in a losing effort. Trence, a OUA First Team All-Star was named Queen’s player of the match.
Rookie Mitchell Neuert had 14 points for Queen’s, earning the praise of head coach Brenda Willis.
We have a very young team, with three second-years and two first-years, and I thought they played really well for where they’re at physically and technically.
“We have a very young team, with three second-years and two first-years, and I thought they played really well for where they’re at physically and technically,” said Willis.“Our biggest issue was that we didn’t pass very well, and that’s a problem because the middle and the middle-pipe combination is important for us. If we had passed a little better, and been a bit more aggressive with our hands, we could have at least pushed it to five.”
Queen’s moves on to play in the consolation round where they will face UNB at 1:00 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. PT on Saturday. The Varsity reds lost to UBC 3-0 earlier on Friday in the quarter-finals.
The two teams were evenly matched throughout, with momentum shifts being the key for Alberta.
The Golden Bears took a 2-0 (25-19, 25-19) advantage by separating themselves at the midpoints in both sets, with four and six-point runs respectively to earn the two-set lead.
Down but not out, Queen’s rallied in the third with a 25-19 victory of their own. A service run from Jack Peckham saw the Gaels overturn an early deficit and lead 17-14 and that was the spark the OUA silver medalists needed.
They responded at 19-17, denying the Golden Bears a straight set sweep by reeling off six of eight points to close out the set, and ending it on a deftly-placed tip from Trence.
A comeback looked to be on for the Gaels, who built out a 10-5 lead in the fourth set and led 18-13, before Alberta went on a 12-5 run to close the game. Down 23-19, Alberta ended on a 6-0 run to send Queen’s to the consolation round and set up a rematch of the CanWest semifinals.
Players of the Game
- School: Alberta, George Hobern
- School: Queen’s, Markus Trence