Briercrest College women take four-set win over Ambrose College, men also defeat Olds College in four sets to book spot in championship weekend
The Briercrest College men’s volleyball team didn’t have to look very far back in their history to get an idea of how tough of a match-up they were in for on Sunday afternoon against the Olds College Broncos.
It was only a weekend earlier that the Broncos had made the trip to Caronport and taken two matches off the Clippers, handing Briercrest two of their five losses in the regular season.
So when the two teams met with a spot in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference Final Four on the line, you knew it was going to be quite the match.
In the end, the Clippers would prevail in front of a raucous crowd in Margaret P. Reimer gymnasium, taking a 3-1 (25-22, 16-25, 25-22, 33-31) victory to book their spot in Edmonton next weekend.
“That’s a great team over there, they have lots of heart and we knew coming in today it was going to be really tough because of last weekend at home,” said Clippers coach Nigel Mullan. “We knew that we were going to have to respond and I thought we did a really good job of wanting to play and staying in the moment.”
It certainly didn’t hurt to have outside hitter Karym Coleman firing on all cylinders — the Clippers veteran threw down an impressive 36 kills to lead the offense and was also second on the team in digs with 10.
Briercrest needed all of that, too, as Olds forced the hosts to play catch-up much of the fourth set before they were able to put things away. That resiliency has been hard-won throughout the season and is something the Clippers will be looking forward to next weekend.
“That’s the value of a point, we didn’t want to get too high or too low whether it was good or bad,” Mullan said. “We wanted to make sure we got the next point and stayed focused and the guys did a really good job with that.”
The Clippers women’s volleyball team didn’t find themselves dealing with quite as many dramatics in their Final Four qualifier against Ambrose College, as they rolled to a 3-1 (25-14, 18-25, 25-17, 25-20) victory.
It was a serviceable and solid effort for the 12-4 Clippers, who despite dropping the second set were essentially in control throughout.
“For a lot of our players, this was their first playoff game at this level, so we had to work through the challenges, especially that second set when we didn’t play as well as we wanted to,” said coach Nolan Weinmaster. “And then the response in the third and the fourth was really good. So I’m super proud of the team, they did a great job out there today.”
Outside hitter Julia Beer was the Clippers’ player of the game as she capped the contest with 12 kills, six digs and four service aces.
The big win was the latest step forward for the perennial title-contending crew, and one that Weinmaster hopes is just another in a run to an ACAC title.
“I told the girls that I haven’t seen a group improve throughout a season the way this group has to become a contender at this point in the year from where we started,” he said. “So I think we’re on that right path and hopefully we can just keep getting better over the next week and into next weekend.”
One thing that is certain for both Clipper crews is that things won’t get any easier with the best of the best in the ACAC waiting in the wings.
“It’s gonna be four good teams there again, and we’re going to have to be at our best,” Mullan said. “I found that we’ve played as well as the other (top) teams throughout the year, and it’s going to be the team that’s able to be disciplined and play their game that comes out on top.”
For game times and more information on the ACAC volleyball Final Four, be sure to visit www.acac.ab.ca.