The Trinity Western Spartans were named tournament favourites on Sunday, as the seeding and quarterfinal matchups were announced for the 2020 U SPORTS Men’s Volleyball Championship.
Hosted for just the second time by the Manitoba and first since 1976, first serve on the tournament flies on Friday and the event concludes Sunday with the gold medal game at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. All games be played at the Investors Group Athletic Centre.
Livestreaming is available via subscription on USPORTS.LIVE.
(Regular Season / Playoffs)
|Last / Total Titles||Kills/Set||Blocks/Set|
|1||Trinity Western||CW Champions||20-2 / 5-1||2019 / 6||12.64 / 2nd||2.21 / 9th|
|2||Montreal||RSEQ Champions||15-1 / 4-0||1970 / 1||13.16 / 1st||2.31 / 4th|
|3||Queen’s||OUA Champions||14-4 / 3-0||Never||12.41 / 3rd||2.05 / 18th|
|4||Alberta||CW Finalists||18-4 / 4-2||2015 / 8||12.27 / 5th||2.57 / 1st|
|5||Toronto||OUA Finalists||17-1 / 2-1||Never||11.39 / 10th||1.56 / 27th|
|6||McMaster||OUA Bronze Medalists||15-2 / 2-1||Never||11.66 / 7th||2.25 / 8th|
|7||Laval||RSEQ Finalists||11-5 / 2-3||2013 / 4||11.5 / 9th||2.07 / 16th|
|8||Manitoba||Hosts||8-14 / 0-0||2003 / 10||10.8 / 18th||2.28 / 6th|
|1||Trinity Western||Eric Loeppky, 3.89||Derek Epp, 10.29||Pearson Eshenko, 1.42||Jesse Elser, 1.47|
|2||Montreal||Youssef Baati, 3.72||Gabriel Chancy, 11.10||Mathieu Lassonde, 1.37||Yassine Kassis, 2.79|
|3||Queen’s||Adam Boljkovac, 3.78||Zane Grossinger, 10.25||Dax Tompkins, 0.95||Lukas Kaufman, 2.16|
|4||Alberta||Jackson Kennedy, 3.24||Max Elgert, 10.21||Liam Huth, 1.50||Liam Huth, 1.50|
|5||Toronto||Evan Falardeau, 3.57||Jordan Figueira, 9.51||Benedikt Licht, 0.84||Daniel Tudor, 2.49|
|6||McMaster||Nathan Delguidice, 3.83||David Doty, 9.33||Wojtek Kraj, 1.03||Jordan Pereira, 1.94|
|7||Laval||Nicolas Fortin, 4.35||Ethan Ellison, 7.57||Hugo Henderson, 0.98||Remi Cadoret, 2.90|
|8||Manitoba||Kevin Negus, 3.57||Jack Mandryk, 9.04||Zach Janzen, 1.03||Owen Schwartz, 1.75|
No. 1 Trinity Western Spartans
The defending national champion Spartans were No. 1 in the U SPORTS Top 10 in every ranking this season, as they rolled to one of their most dominant regular seasons in program history. Along the way, TWU put together a program record 19-match winning streak, while also winning at home record 34 straight sets.
As a team, the Spartans finished atop Canada West in kills per set (12.64), hitting percentage (.380), assists per set (11.76), aces per set (2.32) and points per set (17.2).
Individually, TWU’s Eric Loeppky, who was the Canada West Player of the Year, had a Canada West-leading .443 hitting percentage, while setter Derek Epp, who was a Canada West First Team All-Star, averaged a conference-best 10.29 assists per set, and middle Pearson Eshenko, who was a Canada West Second Team All-Star, led Canada West in blocks per set, with 1.42.
No. 2 Montreal Carabins
The Carabins had a fantastic season finishing 15-1, the best in program history en route to an RSEQ championship.
Led by last season's quintessential player Gabriel Chancy, the Carabins grabbed top spot in the conference standings.Chancy finished the year with an average of 11.1 assists per set, to lead the nation.
While group of veterans is solid, the next wave of succession is also flourishing, with outside hitter Alexis Tournier contributing greatly, earning RSEQ Rookie of the Year honours.
No. 3 Queen’s Gaels
Coming off a 2019 OUA title and U SPORTS fifth-place finish, the Gaels were looking to defend their conference crown and get back to the national championship tournament. After struggling out the gate to start the year, the Gaels went on a 14-2 run and finished as the second team in the OUA East division. The Gaels also saw themselves consistently in the national rankings and climbed as high as No.4 nationally heading into the conference final four.
Queen’s players saw many accolades as Zac Hutcheson was named the OUA East MVP and Dale Iwanoczko Award of Merit recipient while first-year standout Erik Siksna took home OUA East Rookie of the Year honours. Two other Gaels, Zane Grossinger and Adam Boljkovac were also named First Team OUA East All-Stars.
No. 4 Alberta Golden Bears
After losing to Trinity Western in the Canada West Final for the second time in three years, the Golden Bears head to Winnipeg looking to get revenge on the national stage.
Alberta heads to the U SPORTS Championship for a 20th straight year, looking for their first championship banner since winning back-to-back in 2014 and 2015.
First year head coach Brock Davidiuk led the Bears to an 18-4 conference record, second best to the Spartans. The Golden Bears were also outstanding in the second half, winning all 12 regular season matches in 2020.
The Bears will rely on CW first team all-stars Jackson Kennedy, who led the team with 3.24 kills per set, and setter Max Elgert, who finished fourth in Canada with 10.21 assists per set.
No. 5 Toronto Varsity Blues
The Varsity Blues, led by head coach John Barrett, rolled through the OUA regular season, finishing atop the East after registering a 17-1 record with a 13-match win streak entering the playoffs.
Toronto’s fluid attack is fuelled by senior Jordan Figueira, a talented setter who racked up 618 assists (9.5 per set, good for second in the conference). In addition to pacing the OUA in total assists (744), the well-rounded Blues were also tops in kills (797) and digs (663), and second in hitting percentage (2.70). Second-year outside hitter Evan Falardeau was a problem for opponents, leading his team in kills with 239 (fourth in the OUA in kills per set at 3.57). But Toronto can defend as well as it attacks and the catalyst on that front is junior libero Daniel Tudor. Tudor showed his willingness to sacrifice defensively all season by registering 167 digs, which ranked him second in the conference with 2.49 digs per set.
No. 6 McMaster Marauders
OUA Bronze Medalists
The Marauders were a force again in the OUA West, topping the division with a 15-2 record. They surprisingly dropped their final match of the regular season in straight sets on the road against the Windsor Lancers, but seemingly took out any residual frustrations with a surgical 3-0 win over the Nipissing Lakers (25-14, 25-16, 25-12) in the conference quarterfinal.
McMaster can get the job done in a variety of ways. The team finished second in the conference with 11.66 kills per set, thanks in part to having three players register at least 128 each. Senior outside hitter Craig Ireland paced McMaster with 140 kills. The front line was also efficient, ranking third in the league in hitting percentage at .263. Senior setter David Doty ran the offence well and ended the regular season third in the OUA with 9.33 assists per set, while fourth-year libero Jordan Pereira was a key defensive presence with a team-best 103 digs.
There’s another weapon in third-year outside hitter Nathan Delguidice. He only played in 11 matches this season, but wound up ranking second in the OUA in kills per set at 3.83.
No. 7 Laval Rouge et Or
It was a year of transition for the Rouge et Or, who had to learn to live without their former RSEQ MVP over the past five years, Vicente Parraguirre. The arrival of excellent rookie Nicolas Fortin helped to compensate for this loss, as he maintained a 4.35 kills per set average, the third best in the country. However, injuries haunted the Rouge et Or throughout the campaign.
Fortin, outside hitter Alexandre Obomsawin, a member of last year’s U SPORTS Championship all-star team, fifth-year all-star setter Ethan Ellison and fourth-year libero all-star Rémi Cadoret all missed games at different times in 2019-20. Despite all of this, Laval managed to keep an 11-5 record, good for second place in the RSEQ.
No. 8 Manitoba Bisons
With a young roster, the Manitoba Bisons have rallied around veteran leadership in an 8-14 campaign, with fifth-year outside hitter Kevin Negus posting impressive numbers once again from the right side. The Sioux Lookout, Ont. native has posted 3.57 kills per set, good for fourth in the Canada West conference. The team has also received help from Canada West All-Rookie middle Darian Koskie, who has filled in admirably for an injured Brendan Warren, who led the conference in blocks last season. Koskie has tallied 55 blocks and 95 kills in 22 matches.
The 2019-20 season is also the last for legendary head coach Garth Pischke, whose 38th season at the helm of Manitoba will be his last. Pischke is coaching in his 28th national championship and the first at home, having won nine U SPORTS gold medals, nine silver medals, five bronze medals, and in incredible 14 straight years from 1978 to 1991 of winning at least a medal.
|Date||Event||Time (ET)||Time (PT)||Livestream|
|Wed. Mar. 11||All-Canadian Awards Gala||7 p.m.||4 p.m.||N/A|
|Fri. Mar. 13||No. 2 Montreal vs.
No. 7 Laval
|1:30 p.m.||10:30 a.m.||USPORTS.LIVE|
|No. 3 Queen's vs.
No. 6 McMaster
|3:30 p.m.||12:30 p.m.|
|No. 1 Trinity Western vs.
No. 8 Manitoba
|7:30 p.m.||4:30 p.m.|
|No. 4 Alberta vs.
No. 5 Toronto
|9:30 p.m.||6:30 p.m.|
Full championship schedule available here.
As the Exclusive Volleyball Supplier of U SPORTS, Mikasa will provide match balls, as well as other prizing to the U SPORTS Men’s Volleyball Championship and the U SPORTS Women’s Volleyball Championship in 2020.