ALBERTA

Golden Bears advance to CIS volleyball final with four-set win over Laval

03/01/2014 02:07 EST | Updated 04/30/2014 05:59 EDT
CALGARY - The top-seeded Alberta Golden Bears defeated the Laval Rouge et Or in four sets in the CIS men's volleyball championship semifinal Friday.

Set scores were 25-19, 23-25, 25-23, and 25-23.

Alberta will face the sixth-seeded Western Mustangs, who earned a 3-1 win over the McMaster Marauders, on Saturday. McMaster plays Laval for bronze.

The Bears avenged their quarter-final loss to Laval in 2013 in an entertaining, back-and-forth match with three of the four sets decided by the minimum two points.

"It was a little shaky, but we'll take the win," said third-year left side Ryley Barnes, who led the Golden Bears with 14 kills and was named player of the match for Alberta. "We're really confident going in, and we feel like we can play with anyone here. It was just a good match for us."

The Bears hit 25 per cent on the night and dominated play at the net with 14.5 blocks. John Goranson was in on seven of those to lead the way, while Matt McCreary had six blocks for the Golden Bears. Alberta forced 25 hitting errors by the Rouge et Or.

After sloppy play in the opening set, both teams hit better than 35 per cent in the second set. It ended as the only victory of the night for Laval at 25-23, with a kill by the Rouge et Or's player of the match Olivier Jannini.

Jannini's 15-kill, eight-dig night led Laval in both categories, while Belisle's 13 kills held up for the Rouge et Or offence. Bruno Lortie was in on five of Laval's seven blocks, while Olivier Bibealut-Pinard had a hand in four.

Jay Olmstead added 11 kills to the Alberta cause, with Goranson contributing nine. Libero Reed May had a match-high nine digs for the Bears.

The turning point for Western was a third-set comeback. McMaster looked to be in control with a 22-15 advantage, but a service error — one of McMaster's 19 on the night — sparked a 6-0 run for the Mustangs to put them right back in it.

Western's Garrett May had 21 kills, Justin Scapinello had 14 and Phil James added 10. Sean McKay led the way defensively with 11 digs.

McMaster's offensive leader was Stephen Maar with 14 kills, while Dany Demyanenko had 11 kills and was in on six blocks.

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