Clippers anticipate big weekend

Katie Brickman
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Local team ready to host nation’s best volleyball teams

Cody Quiring will try not to let his emotions get the best of him this weekend.

Cody Quiring of the Briercrest Clippers digs for a ball against Red Deer College in late January. Submitted photo

The fifth year athlete at Briercrest College and Seminary will be playing in his final matches as his Clippers compete in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) national men’s volleyball tournament.

“I think it is safe to say that this will my final weekend of playing volleyball. The body is getting a little old,” Quiring said with a chuckle. “I have invested a lot into this program and they have invested in me a lot as well. It will be a very emotional weekend for me.

“To be able to play in front of my friends and family that are coming from B.C. is going to be a special experience.”

The Clippers were practising at YaraCentre on Wednesday morning as head coach Nigel Mullan put them through their final preparations before their first match on Thursday (8 p.m., YaraCentre) against Douglas College from British Columbia.

“We have been watching all the teams after our provincials, especially Douglas. We don’t want any surprises and Nigel loves to prepare and loves to game plan,” said Pablo Acuna, also a fifth year athlete with the Clippers. “We know the teams that we are going to face and we have analyzed their strengths and weaknesses.”

The Clippers are the sixth seed heading into this tournament with Douglas College being seeded third overall. However, the Clippers don’t feel like they are any less capable of winning it all.

“I don’t think, in a championship, there are underdogs,” stated Quiring. “I think all eight teams deserve to be at the national championship. I think all teams have a shot at winning it.”

As the host team, the Clippers are excited to have fans come from the college via buses as well as fans in Moose Jaw come out and watch them play in this top calibre tournament. They aren’t worried that YaraCentre is more of a neutral setting than the Reimer Gymnasium in Caronport.

“I think there will be no difference at all. Our home crowd is our home crowd, no matter where we play,” said Quiring. “There could be thousands of people here to make it an awesome environment.”

Acuna is the team’s liberio and as a final year athlete, he is on both ends of the emotional spectrum.

“If I see it that way, it is sad that it is my last weekend, but I am really excited to finish this way,” said Acuna. “There is no better way to finish than hosting nationals as this is the most important tournament.”

The Costa Rica native also believes the dynamic of this team will help them in moving forward throughout this tournament.

“It is all about controlling what we can control — our passing, our serving,” said Acuna. “They (Douglas College) are a really disciplined team, so I think as long as we take care of our side and make some adjustments on our offence that can damage their defence, I think that will be the key of our game plan.”

The tournament gets underway at 1 p.m. on Thursday with the No. 1 ranked Red Deer College Kings play eighth-ranked CÉCEP de Saint-Jérôme.

Tickets are $10 a day or $25 for tournament pass and can purchased at YaraCentre.

Follow me on Twitter @katiebrickman

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