Competition for men's volleyball supremacy in Canada West is always intense. After two close matches, the Dinos came out on top at the CW final four capturing their first CW men's volleyball banner since 1994.
The Dinos played the Trinity Western Spartans in the semi-finals, where they lost the first set 25-27, but bounced back to claim the second set by a score of 25-17 and the third 25-21.
The Spartans would not go down without a fight and took the fourth set 19-25. The Dinos closed out the last set 15-11 to win 3-2.
"We're very pleased with our performance," said men's volleyball head coach Rod Durrant. "I thought our team was well prepared and played just loose and played really competitive. They didn't worry about the result, they stayed in the moment and because of that they were able to win two very tight matches. It's a tough task, it's a battle. There's four teams that could've won and we're pleased to win the Canada West and get the number one ranking going into nationals."
Allen Meek led the Dinos with 15 kills and 11 digs followed by Graham Vigrass at 13 kills and 10 digs.
Rudy Verhoeff led the Spartans with 22 kills. Jarrod Offereins and Marc Howatson both recorded nine digs.
"We have 17 guys that are very supportive of each other, they get the whole team concept," said Durrant. "We've been working as a group all season. We've proven this semester and in the past that each team can beat the other. To find a way to come out on top of that match is fantastic for our team and for our program."
The Dinos then faced the Brandon Bobcats in a hard fought CW final that was close until the end. The Dinos won the first two sets 25-19 and 25-21. The Bobcats produced a comeback taking the third set 25-27 and the fourth 23-25. The Dinos edged out the Bobcats 16-14 in a close fifth set to win 3-2 and captured the CW banner.
"I thought we were very good in the first two sets," said Durrant. "We were up 2-0 and we had a couple of chances in the third set to finish it. We made a couple of mistakes and they took advantage of it and they beat us by two."
Meek recorded a .45 attack percentage and 21 kills against Brandon for the Dinos. Curtis James and Vigrass each had 19 kills. Jay Blankenau led the Dinos in kills with 16.
Bobcats kills were led by Kevin Miller at 22 and Paul Sanderson at 19. Miller had ten digs and Justin Pikel had nine.
"Canada West conference has shown that they're the best conference in the country because they play against the best teams week after week after week," said Durrant. "I think that prepares us the proper way to play the national championship because Canada West teams are always fighting for that national championship. I don't see anything different this year."
Vigrass was named CW MVP. Durrant was named coach of the year.
"It's outstanding," said Durrant. "Graham has done nothing but improve since he's been here. This is his fourth season. He's an outstanding player, he's a great teammate, an outstanding leader on the floor and off the floor."
The Dinos go into the CIS volleyball championships to be held in Langley, B.C. ranked first. They will play the Sherbrooke Vert et Or who finished second in the Quebec conference in the CIS quarterfinals.
"You want to gain confidence and play your best volleyball because you're going to need to," said Durrant. "There's five or six teams in my opinion that have a shot at winning this event."