Clippers take first match at nationals!

Posted: March 7, 2008

The first semi-final match-up at the CCAA Menís Volleyball Championship has been set as the Briercrest Clippers upset the Malaspina Mariners 3-1 in day one action of the national championship hosted by Humber College. Briercrest, who had upset the eight time defending national champion Red Deer College in the Alberta Championship, continued their magical run at a national title as they topped the Mariners, the third seeded team in the Championship.

An enthusiastic Clippers squad came out in the first set playing with a lot of energy with the crowd getting behind them. Briercrest seemed to rattle the Mariners as they jumped out to an early 7-3 lead, but the advantage did not last for long as the defending national silver medalists were able to bounce back and tie the game at 8-8. It was all Malaspina from that point on as the ďMal NationĒ rolled to a 25-16 first set victory. The Mariners passed the ball nicely and came up with some big hits in key moments.

Cue the comeback. The Clippers came out storming in the second set and leveled the match at 1-1. Down 22-23 in the match, the Clippers needed to make something happen. That's when CCAA All-Canadian Luke Dubbeldam took control as Briercrest scored the next three consecutive points to go on to a 25-23 win. Dubbeldam was on fire down the stretch in the set as he was in on all three final points.

Things heated up in the third set as the teams were once again tied at 23-23. Briercrest found a way to bear down and come up with the final points as they squeaked out a 25-23 win. On set point, Malaspina made a costly error, putting the ball out of bounds and giving the Clippers a 2-1 lead. Briercrest's 6í10 middle Stephen Nash showed off his athleticism, hanging in the air to make an unbelievable tip that gave the Clippers the set win.

The fourth and final set was all Briercrest as they completed the upset with a 25-17 victory. Down 10-7 early on, the Clippers went on a 9-3 run to take a commanding lead. The run was highlighted by another Nash block, which got the fans on their feet. In the final stages of the set, Nash served up two aces to sink the Mariners' ship.

The two CCAA-All Canadians featured in the match, Maverick Hatch of Malaspina and Luke Dubbeldam of the Clippers, were awarded with the player of the game awards. Dubbeldam finished the game with a game-high 22 kills while Hatch recorded 12 points. Nash of the Clippers finished with 18 points, including 14 kills, 3 aces and one block.

The first championship semi-final is scheduled for Saturday (6:00 pm) as Briercrest (Caronport, SK) will meet up with the UBC-Okanagan Lakers (Kelowna, BC). Malaspina (Nanaimo, BC) will play in the bronze medal quarter-finals (Saturday at 1:00 pm) as they take on the UKC Blue Devils (Halifax, NS).

The CCAA Menís Volleyball National Championship is taking place from March 7-9, 2008 at the Humber Institute of Technology and Advance Learning in Etobicoke, ON. For complete championship information, please visit the championship website at www.humberathletics.ca/mvbnationals.