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Bobcats win first-ever volleyball banner

The Brandon University Bobcats are the Canada West men’s volleyball champions.

Sam Tuivai had 22 kills, four aces and nine digs as the eighth-ranked Bobcats upset the third-ranked Trinity Western Spartans 3-1 (25-21, 25-22, 23-25, 25-15) in the Canada West final Saturday night in Edmonton. This is the first banner for the Bobcats’ volleyball program in its eight years of existence, although it did win silver and bronze medals at nationals in 2011 and 2009, respectively. It’s the first conference title for the school since BU’s men’s basketball team was crowned Canada West champions in 2001-02.

The Bobcats dominated the final as it led from the first to final point in the first, second and fourth sets. Trinity didn’t lead in any set until it gained a 12-11 advantage in the third, which the Spartans barely hung on to win.

Bobcats head coach Grant Wilson liked the way his team played.

"Really nothing different than the last few games," he said. "Our goal was to be the best serving and best passing team on the court and I thought we really dictated control of the game by passing really well and serving really well. We just kept them off balance and it led to some early leads for us and instilled confidence and it paid off."

Roy Ching added 15 kills and 15 digs for Brandon, while fifth-year Brandonite Garrett Popplestone had 44 assists, two aces and 16 digs.

Brandon, along with Trinity Western and Alberta — which is ranked No.1 in the country and won the conference bronze medal over UBC — all advance to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship in Quebec City from Friday through Sunday. They will be joined by the second-ranked McMaster Marauders and fifth-ranked Laval Rouge et Or, who are hosting the event. The field will be rounded out by the New Brunswick Varsity Reds, Western Mustangs and Montreal Carabins.

For more details, see Monday's Brandon Sun.

» cjaster@brandonsun.com

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