CAMPUS ROUNDUP: Calgary Dinos, MRU Cougars in volleyball’s last four

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The University of Calgary Dinos men’s volleyball team will travel to the Canada West Final Four this weekend hosted by the Trinity Western Spartans in Langley, BC.

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The action kicks off Friday with a Battle of Alberta rubber game, pitting the Dinos against the Alberta Golden Bears with the first serve scheduled for 9 p.m. MT at the Langley Events Center. Calgary will then advance to the gold or bronze medal game against TWU or the Brandon Bobcats on Saturday.

“I think our program is really excited to have the opportunity to compete in a Final Four,” Dinos head coach Rod Durrant said. “We haven’t been there for a while. The athletes have worked hard and are thrilled to have the opportunity to compete and earn a spot to compete at the national championships.

The entire Final Four is set to air live on Canada West TV, presented by Co-Op.

The Dinos finished the regular season with a 13-5 record in conference play, good for second place in Canada’s Central West Division. This earned them a spot in Group C of this year’s new playoff format, sending them on the road to face the East Division champion Winnipeg Wesmen, as well as the Manitoba Bisons and Chicago Heat. ‘UBC-Okanagan. The Dinos went 2-1 against that group, finishing second in their pool to qualify as one of the final six teams still competing in Canada West.

From there, the Dinos were sent to Langley. By winning their opener against the Saskatchewan Huskies on Friday, Calgary clinched a spot in the Final Four ahead of their showdown against the host Spartans. Despite struggling and keeping things close, the Dinos failed to upset the nation’s No. 1 team, meaning TWU won their group and the right to host this year’s Final Four. .

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Canada West announced its annual All-Star winners last week, with two Dinos recognized for their on-court efforts this season. Hamish Hazelden was named to the First Team All-Star Team, while Louis Kunstmann was named to the All-Rookie Team. Hazelden is a top leader for this year’s team and ranks nationally in multiple categories this season, including eliminations (third), total runs (third), hit percentage (sixth), digs (seventh), and kills/set (ninth). Meanwhile, Kunstmann quickly made a name for himself in his freshman season, leading the team in hit percentage at .434. The two also play a big part in Calgary being ranked No. 1 in the nation in blocks, with the duo ranking second and third on the team in total blocks.

After a 6-4 start this season, the Scarlett & Gold have lost just one game since and entered postseason play on a four-game winning streak, including a sweep of the Golden Bears. , then second. Although Calgary is a well-balanced team, they are undoubtedly led by senior Hazelden. The Aussie product ranks third in all of Canada this season with 268 kills on the year. The Dinos’ defense at net has also been a big part of the team’s success, as they rank first in U SPORTS in total blocks (193) and blocks per set (2.92). . A big part of that net hit was third-grade Lincoln Baines’ game, which ranks among the best in the nation at 1.52 blocks per set.

The Golden Bears finished the regular season with a 15-3 record, with all three losses coming to the Dinos. Calgary and Alberta split the season series, with each team winning three games. The Golden Bears swept the Dinos in three straight games in November before each team secured a 3-1 win at Calgary in early January. The Dinos then recorded a pair of 3-1 wins over their interprovincial rivals in late February. Alberta’s top two schools have met in the playoffs time and time again. The Golden Bears won the most recent game — a best-of-three series in 2018. Since 2000, the two schools have faced each other 13 times in the playoffs, with Calgary trailing just 7-6 in those matchups.

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On the other side of the spectrum, the last two Canada West champions will face off at Trinity Western and Brandon. The Spartans finished the regular season 15-1 in the West Division, while the Bobcats were 9-9 in the East. If the Dinos take on TWU, they’ll be looking to buck the Spartans’ 11-game winning streak in the head-to-head series. Calgary’s last win in the series came in the 2016 playoffs. Meanwhile, Calgary and Brandon have a very even history. The two teams split their home series two years ago and have met in each of the last two playoff series, with the Bobcats coming out on top in those two series.

This year’s U SPORTS Men’s Volleyball Championship is hosted by Manitoba and is scheduled for next weekend, March 25-27. The field will be determined by this week’s conference championships across Canada.


Just four teams remain in the Canada West women’s volleyball playoffs after two weeks of intense action.

Last weekend, Round 2 saw versatile, adaptable play on the fly coupled with dramatic wins and rocking thrillers. After all, Alberta, Trinity Western, UBC Thunderbirds and Mount Royal Cougars are the teams still fighting. They will face off in the Final Four based on their performance in Round 2, with the top seed from each group drawing the second seed from the other.

In Round 2 action, the Cougars went 1-1. Mount Royal were aggressive against the Dinos, knocking out their opponents across town in four neat sets, but then they lost to UBC in a five-set thriller.

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What remains now is a volleyball quartet equivalent to football’s “group of death”. Alberta, UBC and Trinity Western account for all but four Canada West championships won since 1994.

The Spartans have won the last two conference titles, in 2019 and 2020, while UBC is the most recent U SPORTS gold medalist, having won the national championship in 2019. Alberta has won the most games in the Canada West regular season in 2021-22, and the only reason Mount Royal doesn’t have the storied past of its peers is that the Cougars are still relatively new to the conference.

And after the championship-winning run is scored and the Women’s Intercollegiate Volleyball Trophy is awarded, it still won’t be over; Canada West’s top medalists will join the host Dinos with a spot at the 2022 U SPORTS Women’s Volleyball Championship, taking place March 25-27 at Jack Simpson Gym.

Alberta, as the Round 2 group winner with the best regular season record, will host the final four. The semifinals are on Friday, while the bronze medal and championship games are on Saturday.

You can see all the action on presented by Co-Op.

Friday 18th March

1 p.m. — Alberta (Group D winner) vs. Mont-Royal (Group E finalist)

3:00 p.m. – British Columbia (Group E winner) vs. Trinity Western (Group D runner-up)

Saturday March 19

1:00 p.m. — Bronze Medal Game

3:00 p.m. — Gold Medal Game


The Calgary Dinos track and field teams are finally ready for post-season competition as the Canada West Championships kick off, starting Friday, hosted by the University of Manitoba at James Daly Fieldhouse in Winnipeg.

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“There’s definitely buzz, and the team is definitely excited for this weekend,” said Calgary first-year head coach Jessica Zelinka. “With the season postponed for two weeks and everything with COVID, it has been a long time coming. There is a lot of energy in this weekend.

This season has certainly been unique for the Dinos.

At the beginning of the year, the team had to cancel a meeting due to COVID. Then, in early February, U SPORTS announced that this year’s national championships would take place from March 31 to April 2 — three weeks later than originally planned.

But the Dinos have taken every turn in stride, as evidenced by their results throughout the season.

Going into this weekend’s competition, Calgary has 12 athletes ranked in the top three in Canada West, including five who hold the highest score heading into the conference championships.

So while this year’s Dinos team may not be as deep as those two years ago who won a CW title in men’s and finished second in women’s, they certainly still have a lot of talent.

“We’re bringing a smaller roster than usual,” Zelinka said. “We are bringing our top 12 athletes to the standings and hoping to get points wherever and wherever we can.”

Meanwhile, for Zelinka, she certainly brings a wealth of experience into her first season leading Scarlett & Gold and looks forward to seeing her athletes in action at the CW and U SPORTS Championships.

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“It’s been a great first season – I’m really excited about Canada West and U SPORTS,” added Zelinka. “As an athlete, I’ve found that there’s a lot of energy around these competitions and it’s more about team camaraderie. It’s going to be really exciting that we’re finally here. The pre-season is over, we’ve done all the hard work, and now it’s just a matter of preparing, preparing mentally and doing your best.

This weekend’s CW Championships begin at noon MT Friday, with Saturday’s events scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. MT. Fans can follow the action in a variety of ways, with live results available online, updates available on the Dinos TFXC social media accounts, as well as a live broadcast of the match on Canada West TV, shown by Co-op.

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