It’s the third time in five years the Bobcats men’s volleyball team has qualified for the CIS national championship, but the first time they will enter as the top-ranked team.
Canadian Interuniversity Sport released the pre-tournament rankings Monday morning and Brandon University is entering the eight-team tournament seeded number 1, after capturing the program’s first Canada West conference title last Saturday. The No. 8 Bobcats pulled off consecutive upset wins over the No. 1 Alberta Golden Bears and No. 3 Trinity Western Spartans to win the league title.
This is the highest ranking or seeding the Bobcats have ever had, but that hasn’t fazed the Bobcats and head coach Grant Wilson.
"I’m sure for teams outside our conference view us as a bit of a target, but from within our conference we know that anybody can win on any given day," Wilson said. "We’re happy that we were the team to come out on top this past weekend, but it wouldn’t take much to reverse the tables by any of those teams that were there. We know we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. From our stand point we’re pleased to get the results we did this weekend and now we’re just going to try to build on that."
"Our goal is going to stay the same and that is to get better every weekend that we play. If we can build on this past weekend and be better than we were we know we have a shot against anybody. Our conference is as tough as it gets, so we know if we can compete there we can compete anywhere," Wilson added.
The Bobcats first match in the tournament is scheduled for Friday, March 1 at 6:00 PM ET (5:00 pm CT) as they play the #8 Université de Montréal Carabins.
Rounding out the seeding are the reigning two-time national champion Trinity Western Spartans (Canada West finalists), No. 3 McMaster Marauders (OUA champions), No. 4 Alberta Golden Bears (Canada West bronze medalists), No. 5 and host Laval Rouge et Or (RSEQ champs), No. 6 UNB Varsity Reds (AUS champs), No. 7 Western Mustangs (OUA finalists) and No. 8 Montreal Carabins (RSEQ finalists)
The Bobcats settled for sixth place in Canada West during the regular season but were a perfect 4-0 against three of the top six teams in the country in the playoffs en route to claiming their first-ever conference banner. The ‘Cats swept Saskatchewan in a two-game quarter-final series before upsetting top-ranked Alberta in the semis and Trinity Western in the final.
Brandon is the fifth different school in five years to earn No. 1 status for the tournament, following Trinity Western (2012), Calgary (2011), Laval (2010) and Alberta (2009).
All matches from the national championship can be seen live on www.cis-sic.tv, and locally in Brandon on WCGtv Channel 12 to Westman Communications Group cable subscribers.