Jarrod Offereins

By The Canadian Press - TSN - LINK to Story

KINGSTON, Ontario — The top-seeded Trinity Western Spartans will get the chance to defend their national title thanks to a straight-set win Saturday over the No. 5 Queen's Gaels at the CIS men's volleyball championship.

The Spartans, making their third consecutive appearance in the gold-medal game, will meet No. 3 Laval in Sunday's final. The Rouge et Or downed Manitoba 3-1 in the early semifinal.

Trinity Western was led by third-year hitter Steven Marshall, who had a game-high 14 kills to lead all players on just 23 attacks. He also chipped in with four digs and four blocks on defence.

For Queen's, OUA player of the year Joren Zeeman finished with a 10 kills and eight digs.

"We had good execution and we wanted to serve tough and pass well and I thought we did both," said Trinity Western head coach Ben Josephson. "The atmosphere here was electric and I'm really glad we quieted them down a little bit. After having that advantage last year we knew what that meant to us so we wanted to make sure we played good early."

Queen's head coach Brenda Willis praised the quality of Trinity Western's play.

"We lost to a better team today and I give Trinity Western all the credit in the world. They have so much faith in their block that if they just give you an easy ball and you get a perfect pass out of it they're still confident that they can block you and they did."

Laval, meanwhile, advanced with a 15-25, 30-28, 25-22, 25-17 semifinal victory over Manitoba and hope to put an end to a 17-year domination by Western schools in CIS men's volleyball.

The Rouge et Or were the last team from outside the Canada West conference to win the Tantramar Trophy back in 1994.

Tommy Belisle paced the Rouge et Or on Saturday with 18 kills, three blocks and eight digs. He was named game MVP for the winners.

Manitoba was led by middle hitter Carson Kauenhowen of Winnipeg, who finished with eight kills, seven blocks and a service ace.

"Saving four set points in the second set was for sure the turning point for us", said Laval head coach Pascal Clement. "It was probably a question of confidence in the first set. We were holding back while the Bisons came in strong. But once we felt that we could get our game going and Karl De Grandpre found his rhythm, it was nice to see."

Bisons head coach Garth Pischke commended De Grandpre, a four-time all-Canadian also from Pierreville, for his play.

"With De Granpre's serves they got some runs on us, he played a phenomenal game and we didn't have an answer for him," said Pischke. "If we had found a way to even neutralize him a little bit we certainly would have had a better chance."

The Gaels will try to please their home crowd by winning a first-ever CIS medal when Queen's faces Manitoba for bronze.

Last Updated: 2012-03-07
Author: Mark Janzen