Playoff Cross Courts: TWU, UBC, CGY look to hold serve at home

Playoff Cross Courts: TWU, UBC, CGY look to hold serve at home

Brian Swane, Special to Canada West

EDMONTON - After a marathon four-month season, the two-week sprint to glory begins this weekend in Canada West women’s volleyball.

The 2017 playoffs begin with best-of-three quarter-final series that will determine the trio of teams who join Alberta for Final Four in Edmonton on March 10 and 11. The Pandas earned a bye this week by virtue of finishing atop the standings.

Trinity Western begins its quest for three straight conference championships, while UBC Okanagan and UBC look for a return to the podium after winning silver and bronze, respectively, last year.

A look at the series:

(7) Mount Royal vs. (2) Trinity Western

While the Cougars are making history with their second consecutive post-season appearance, TWU has its eyes on securing a spot in the record books by achieving its first championship three-peat. Both teams arrive in the quarterfinal round playing at a high level, with the Spartans having won their last six and MRU on a five-game win streak. The teams met twice in Calgary at the beginning of December, with TWU defeating the Cougars 3-0 and 3-1. Student-athletes to watch include Spartans outside hitter Sophie Carpentier (second in Canada West in both kills and services aces per set, third in hitting percentage) and libero Maddi Quinn of MRU, who led the conference in digs (353 total, 3.83 per set).

(6) Thompson Rivers vs. (3) UBC

It’s been a decade since the Canada West semi-finals did not include the Thunderbirds, who look to extend that remarkable run with a victory over Thompson Rivers in Vancouver. UBC is Canada West’s hottest team, arriving in the post-season with victories in 15 of its last 16 contests. The Wolfpack are one of only three teams that defeated the T-Birds in 2016-17, as the teams split a pair of 3-0 decisions in Kamloops during the early part of the season. UBC went 10-1 at War Memorial Gymnasium, while TRU won seven times on the road.

(5) UBC Okanagan vs. (4) Calgary

UBCO has its sights set on a fifth straight trip to Final Four. The Dinos, on the other hand, are looking to earn a semi-final berth for the first time since 2009. These teams most recently saw each other three months ago, in Kelowna, with Calgary winning 3-2 and the Heat prevailing 3-1. The Heat ranked among the top three teams in Canada West in several stat categories this season, including kills, assists, aces, and digs. The Dinos have an impact player in middle block Jaylynn Moffatt, who was the conference leader in blocks (109) and owns fifth-best hitting percentage (.277).

 

Women's volleyball quarter-finals series schedule:

Thu. 2 Mount Royal   Trinity Western   7:00 PM PST
  CW Quarter-finals - Game 1
Fri. 3 UBC Okanagan   Calgary   6:00 PM MST
  CW Quarter-finals - Game 1
  Thompson Rivers   UBC   6:00 PM PST
  CW Quarter-finals - Game 1
  Mount Royal   Trinity Western   7:00 PM PST
  CW Quarter-finals - Game 2
Sat. 4 Mount Royal   Trinity Western   TBA
  CW Quarter-finals - Game 3 (if necessary)
  UBC Okanagan   Calgary   6:00 PM MST
  CW Quarter-finals - Game 2
  Thompson Rivers   UBC   5:00 PM PST
  CW Quarter-finals - Game 2
Sun. 5 UBC Okanagan   Calgary   3:00 PM MST
  CW Quarter-finals - Game 3 (if necessary)
  Thompson Rivers   UBC   2:00 PM PST
  CW Quarter-finals - Game 3 (if necessary)

Watch every game on CanadaWest.tv