Clippers ready to host CCAA nationals

Katie Brickman
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Men’s volleyball finishes fifth; women finish fourth at ACAC championships

The Briercrest Clippers are enjoying the underdog role even if they are national hosts.

Cody Quiring of the Briercrest Clippers digs for a ball against Red Deer College in late January. The Clippers will be hosting the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) championship qualifier last weekend in Caronport. Submitted photo

The Clippers men’s volleyball team finished fifth overall at the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) conference championship over the weekend.

“We opened with a tough match against Red Deer. We thought we played them fairly tough, but missed too many serves and that ended up hurting us,” said Nigel Mullan, head coach of the Clippers. “I thought that from there, our consistency picked up.”

The eighth seeded Clippers opened the conference weekend with a 3-1 loss (27-25; 24-26; 25-17; 25-18) to top-ranked Red Deer College.

Briercrest are the only team to take a set off Red Deer all weekend. The Kings later defeated Grant MacEwan University in straight sets to win the ACAC title.

On Saturday, the Clippers faced fourth seeded Medicine Hat College. The Clippers were strong, sweeping the Trojans in three sets (25-20; 25-20; 25-11).

With that win, it set up the fifth and sixth seeding game against Grand Prairie Regional College on Sunday.

The Clippers won 3-1 (25-22; 25-15; 21-25; 25-21) to finish fifth overall.

“In our second match against Medicine Hat, I felt that we played much stronger and continued that momentum against Grand Prairie and able to finish the weekend off with a positive note,” noted Mullan.

The goal for the Clippers was to head into the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) national tournament as host and ACAC champions.

However, the Clippers are still confident in what they can do when the best eight teams from across Canada come to YaraCentre from Mar. 5 to 8 for the national championship.

“We get a chance to play in front of our fans and in some regards, play with nothing to lose. Red Deer has the pressure coming in and will most likely be the first seed,” said Mullan. “We feel like we are a dangerous team. We talked all year that we have potential, on any given night, to compete with any team.”

The team will now focus on their inconsistency problems they’ve had all season long in practice as they prepare for their opponent.

“We feel like this was a good weekend for us to evaluate and to see what is working well and what are things we still need to improve on in the next week and a half,” said Mullan. “We are focused on first contact, serving and passing. At this point, that is where we think we can gain the biggest strides heading into our quarter-final match.”

YaraCentre will set up on Saturday for the CCAA national championship with action getting underway on Thursday with matches. The gold medal match is Saturday at 8 p.m.

Tickets are available at YaraCentre on the day of the tournament with day passes for $10 and full tournament passes for $25. Children under the age of 18 and all Briercrest students with ID are free.  


Women’s volleyball finishes fourth

The Briercrest Clippers women’s volleyball team lost a close match to Grant MacEwan University to finish fourth overall.

On Sunday, the Clippers were close to winning the bronze medal, but lost in five sets (25-14; 28-30; 25-18; 24-26; 15-13) to the host Wolves.

The Clippers opened the ACAC championship with a straight set win (27-25; 25-22; 25-22) over King’s University College.

In the semifinal, they faced the top seeded Red Deer College and lost in straight sets (25-19; 25-17; 25-24).

On Friday, it was announced that Elly Wendel was named the ACAC women’s volleyball player of the year and Nolan Weinmaster was named the ACAC women’s volleyball coach of the year.

This is the best finish to the season for the Clippers since joining the ACAC in 1996-97.

Follow me on Twitter @katiebrickman.

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