#2 UBC-Okanagan Lakers defeat #6 Briercrest Clippers 3-2 (21-25, 27-25, 23-25, 26-24, 15-11) – Game Statistics Below
UBC-Okanagan advances to the CCAA Men’s Volleyball Championship Game (Sunday at 7:30 pm)
ETOBICOKE, ON – They're celebrating in Kelowna, British Columbia! The University of British Columbia-Okanagan Lakers have advanced to the CCAA Men’s Volleyball National Championship game with a thrilling 3-2 win over the Briercrest Clippers (Caronport, Saskatchewan) on Saturday night at Humber College.
Fans could not ask for more as the two teams left it all on the court in the five set marathon. Facing the brink of elimination trailing in the late stages of the fourth set, the Lakers came up with an amazing comeback to level the game at two sets apiece. In the fifth and deciding set and a trip to the national title game on the line, the British Columbia champion Okanagan Lakers found a way pull out the victory winning by a score of 15-11.
Lakers setter Chris Major was unbelievable in significant moments of the game as he recorded a championship high 20 digs and was the key player for Okanagan’s fourth set comeback. Major also did a great job of spreading out the Lakers offense as Kyle Westgate, Jeff Cundy and Riley McFarland scored 20, 19 and 18 points respectively in the match.
Leading the way for the Clippers was CCAA All-Canadian Luke Dubbeldam who recorded 23 points (21 kills, 2 aces) and 10 digs. Dubbeldam is in a tie for the championship lead with 45 total points scored, as he has averaged 5.0 PPG.
The tempo for the match was set from the opening serve as both teams played mistake-free volleyball providing the fans with ton of offense. The Clippers would go on to take the first set 25-21, with Dubbeldam and Stephen Nash exciting the crowd providing them with electrifying plays.
The second set saw Okanagan level the match at 1-1, taking the set in extra time winning by a score of 27-25. The two teams showcased their talent with plenty of great rallies, but it was the team from BC getting back in the match coming out with the narrow victory.
The third game saw Briercrest establish a comfortable lead, looking as if they would cruise to another win. Okanagan had different plans as they erased the deficit to tie the set at 23-23. Not letting the Lakers comeback phase them, the Clippers were able to regain their composer as they would capitalize on a Dubbeldam kill and a Laker shot out of bounds to earn a 2-1 lead.
In the fourth set with Briercrest holding a chance at set-point, Okanagan needed someone to elevate their game if they were going to keep their national title dreams alive. That is when Chris Major took over the match as he seemed to find a way to get to every loose ball to keep rallies alive. He also provided his teammates with well-placed sets enabling them to get clean attacks on the Briercrest defense. The Lakers were able to storm back to tie the game 2-2 winning once again in extra points by a score of 26-24.
With a trip to the national finals on the line, the fifth set was full of a number of great plays including lengthy rallies and big aces that got the fans out of their seats! Okanagan established an early 7-4 lead but Briercrest came back to tie it at 8-8. After trading points to make the score even 10-10, Okanagan went on a 3-0 run to put them two-points away from the win. After committing a serve into the net (13-11), Okanagan’s Riley McFarland came up with a kill to put the Lakers at match point. The teams then provided the fans with another great rally, but it was a Briercrest error which sent the ball into the stands giving Okanagan the win.
Chris Major was awarded the player of the game for Okanagan while Chris Loewen earned the honour for Briercrest.
The Lakers will now advance to the national title game where they will take on the winner of the Mohawk/Mount Royal match-up. They will look to become only the second team from British Columbia to win the national title, with Vancouver Community College being the only other team to do so winning in 1980.
For Briercrest, (a college with the enrollment of only 800 students) it has been a wild journey to get to this point in the season. The Clippers (who only have nine players in their lineup) finished the regular season with a 9-15 record, barely qualifying for the ACAC Championship. After an opening round win, the Clippers pulled off the monumental upset as they came back to defeat the eight-time defending national champion Red Deer College 3-2 (36-38, 23-25, 25-22, 28-26, 17-15) to qualify for the Nationals.
21-25, 27-25, 23-25, 26-24, 15-11
UBC-Okanagan Leading Scorers
Kyle Westgate – 20 points (16 kills, 3 blocks, 1 ace) and 7 digs
Jeff Cundy – 19 points (17 kills, 2 blocks) and 12 digs
Chris Major – 20 digs
Briercrest Leading Scorers
Luke Dubbeldam – 23 points (21 kills, 2 aces) and 10 digs
Chris Loewen – 13 points (11 kills, 2 aces) and 11 digs
Colin Kubinec – 12 points (10 kills, 2 blocks) and 10 digs
Players of the Game
Chris Major, Okanagan
Chris Loewen, Briercrest