Briercrest defeats Medicine Hat 3-1; play in semi-final tomorrow and guaranteed chance at a medal

Posted: February 22, 2013

By Jadon Frank

Briecrest College kicked off the 2012-13 ACAC Championships with a 3-1 (25-19, 18-25, 25-18, 25-17) victory over Medicine Hat College and will now play in the semi-final Saturday, Feb. 23 at 6:00 pm.

Two weeks after dropping two straight matches to the ACAC fourth ranked Medicine Hat College Rattlers, fifth ranked Briercrest faced Medicine Hat College again in the first quarter final of the 2012-13 ACAC Championship.

Briercrest kicked off the championships, hosted by Keyano College in Fort McMurray, AB, with a strong 25-19 first set victory. After Medicine Hat scored the first point of the tournament Briercrest middle, Josh Wendel (third year; Caronport, SK) showed why he was a 2012-13 second team All-Conference selection the previous night by replying with two strong kills to give Briercrest the early 2-1 lead. Briercrest extended their lead to 9-4 and then 12-8, forcing Medicine Hat to take the first time-out of the tournament. The timeout didn’t have the effect that Medicine Hat wanted as kills by Kyle Pankratz (second year; Surrey, BC) and Wendel gave Briercrest the 16-9 lead. Medicine Hat then went on a short run of their own before Briercrest once again went on a run and forced another Rattlers timeout at 20-12 for Briercrest. Medicine Hat went on two runs, sandwiching a Pankratz kill, to bring the score to 23-19 for Briercrest and force Briercrest to take their first timeout of the tournament. Briercrest responded to the timeout and quickly ended the first set with a Steve Guenther (second year; Oakbank, MB) service ace and the 25-19 first set win.

The second set went back and forth with Briercrest maintaining a slight lead highlighted by another service ace by Guenther before Briercrest head coach called a timeout with the game tied at nine a side. Briercrest responded to the timeout with two quick points and re-taking the lead. After Briercrest leftside Cody Quiring (Fourth year; Walnut Grove, BC) showed why he was selected as a 2012-13 ACAC Second Team All-Conference with a service ace to make the score 14-12 in favour of Briercrest, Medicine Hat went on a run of their own to take a 15-14 lead. The lead was their first since their 1-0 lead to start the first set. Medicine Hat continued their strong play forcing a Briercrest timeout with a 19-17 lead. The timeout did not seem to have the desired effect that Briercrest coach Nigel Mullan was looking for, so he subbed in first-year players Michael Harrison (setter; Airdrie, AB), Josh Senneker (Outside hitter; Vauxhall, AB) and Jachin Karg (Leftside; Calgary, AB) for several points near the end of the set. Medicine Hat took the second set 25-18 to tie the match at one set a side.

Medicine Hat began the third set where they left off in the second jumping to a quick 8-3 lead, leading to a Briercrest substitution and bringing Senneker back into the game. Senneker responded with a service ace to bring the score to 8-5 for Medicine Hat and then forcing a timeout with the score 8-7 for Briercrest. Briercrest came out of the timeout strong and went on a three point run to take a 10-7 lead. After Medicine Hat went on a three point run of their own and took a 11-10 lead Senneker once again answered the call with a huge second effort and a dig to lead Briercrest to a 14-12 lead. Briercrest kept up their strong play, forcing Medicine Hat to take another timeout with the score 18-14 in favour of Briercrest. Medicine Hat took a point off of Briercerst after the timeout, but then gave Briercrest the point back with one of their many serves into the net during the game. Medicine Hat was plagued all game with inconsistency at the service line. After another service ace by Quiring, Senneker ended the game with a great kill, giving Briercrest the 25-18 win and 2-1 lead.

Briercrest came out strong in the fourth set forcing Medicine Hat to take a timeout with the score 5-1 in Briercrest’s favour. Medicine Hat came out strong from the timeout, bringing the score within two at 6-4, but were unable to surpass Briercrest on the scoreboard only able to bring their deficit to one on a couple of occasions. Some miscommunication brought the score to 14-13 for Briercrest before another service error by Medicine Hat helped Briercrest regain their bearings and a huge solo block by Quiring and another kill by Senneker brough the score to 21-15 for Briercrest. Medicine Hat seemed to be overthinking their hits to end the game with several unforced errors wide and into the net giving Briercrest a 24-17 lead. Fittingly, Senneker ended the game with an emphatic kill to give Briercrest the 25-17 win and the 3-1 (25-19, 18-25, 25-18, 25-17) victory.

Players of the game were Medicine Hat’s Stephen Stiff and Briercrest’s Josh Senneker, who came entered the game as a substitution late in the second and had a game high 12 kills to go with one ace, five digs and one block.

Game notes: Briercrest led every statistical category during the game with 42 digs to Medicine Hat’s 37, five service aces to Medicine Hat’s three, and 48 digs and nine blocks to Medicine Hat’s 42 and eight. Leading Briercrest were the aforementioned Senneker, Cody Quiring with a game high 12 kills , two aces and 10 digs, and Josh Wendel and Scott Willms with a team high two blocks.

Briercrest will face Red Deer College in semi-final number one tomorrow, Saturday, February 23 at 6:00 pm local time. The winners of the semi-finals play for the gold medal on Sunday and are guaranteed a spot at the CCAA National Championship, while the loser will play for a bronze medal Sunday afternoon.

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