The Brandon University Bobcats travel to Quebec City today for nationals seeded No.1 in the country, but it’s the final ranking on Sunday that is all they are concerned with.
Coming off stunning upsets of the Alberta Golden Bears — ranked No.1 in the country for most of the season — and the third-ranked Trinity Western Spartans to clinch the Canada West men’s volleyball championship on Saturday night in Edmonton, the Bobcats were awarded the No.1 seed on Monday for this week’s CIS nationals in Quebec City.
However, Bobcats head coach Grant Wilson, whose team was ranked eighth in the country entering the conference final four, said being the No.1 seed doesn’t change anything for his team.
“To be honest, we’re not really thinking too much about it,” Wilson said. “I mean, we’re fully aware that any of the eight teams there are going to be real good and capable of winning any game.
“So it doesn’t really matter if you are the number one seed or the number eight seed going in, as we proved this last weekend at the CanWest championship. At the end of the day, the rankings don’t mean much, unless it’s the ranking after the final day and that’s when you want to be number one.”
The Bobcats fly out of Winnipeg this afternoon and will have their first practice in Quebec City on Wednesday as they prepare for Friday’s national quarter-final versus the eighth-seeded Montreal Carabins. The opening game can be seen on Westman Cable’s WCGtv Channel 12 or at www.cis-sic.tv at 5 p.m., with WCGtv scheduled to televise all Bobcat games throughout the weekend.
Canada West conference teams have won 18 straight national men’s volleyball titles and have three of the top four seeds this year, with Brandon followed by defending national champion Trinity Western at No.2 and Canada West regular-season champion Alberta at No.4.
“I think after having the success that we did this weekend after beating Alberta, beating the number one-ranked team all year, it certainly gives our guys confidence in knowing that on any given day, when we come to play, we can compete with anybody,” Wilson said. “So it’s a bit of a pat on the back, but we’re all realists and we also know that any of the four teams that played in the Canada West championship this past weekend could have won that championship, so the tables can turn pretty quickly.
“We can’t worry too much about what we’re ranked or who we beat in the past. It’s just going to count what you do in the days ahead.”
The Bobcats will have all hands on deck for nationals, although fifth-year left side/libero Scott Neufeld of Brandon is nursing an ankle injury he suffered on Saturday night.
“I would say probable is probably the best description right now,” Wilson said of Neufeld’s availability for nationals.