As most of us settled into a weekend of celebration and partying, the Waterloo Warriors men’s volleyball team travelled to frigid Edmonton, Alberta to compete at the 2017 University Sports National Championship at the University of Alberta.
The men’s volleyball championship ran from March 17 to March 20. The Warriors entered the competition ranked as the lowest of eight sides in the tournament, and faced a stiff test right from the get-go as they matched up with the number one ranked team in the country, the Trinity Western University Spartans.
The Friday afternoon game saw the Warriors, and in particularJordan McConkey, battle hard to keep the opening two sets of the game close at 25-18, and 25-25 in favour of the Spartans. The third set saw McConkey, Braden Cox of Waterloo and Nikola Dimitrijevic of the Spartans fill the stat board with excellent defensive plays, and McConkey contributing a team high 7.5 points.
However, the Spartans fought back, winning the third set as well as the game, showing their championship level ability and defending their 2016 crown.With the loss, the Warriors’ quest to win a medal, ongoing since their 1990-1991 bronze medal season, was cut short.
The team was matched up with the University of Laval in a Saturday consolation match. The Warriors’ mission at this point was to beat their personal record of a sixth place finish at last year’s 2016 University Sports National Championship.
Laval had been ranked fourth in the tournament and narrowly defeated the Warriors in three straight sets of 25 -22, 25-19, and 22 -15 respectively.
The men’s volleyball team thoroughly enjoyed the experience at nationals and fought with grit and determination despite being ranked the last placed team of the eight participating.
Although the men were unable to add to their history of three bronze medals at the event, they can hold their heads high as the 2016-2017 season saw them win an OUA gold medal as well as add to their total number of appearances at nationals.